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April 23, 2013

New tool will let you know if what you are reading is journalism or just corporate PR

Is It Journalism, or Just a Repackaged Press Release? Here's a Tool to Help You Find Out - Rebecca J. Rosen - The Atlantic
Today, the Sunlight Foundation has unveiled a tool that will help us all with this work. "The tool is, essentially, an open-source plagiarism detection engine," web developer Kaitlin Devine explained to me. It will scan any text (a news article, e.g.) and compare it with a corpus of press releases and Wikipedia entries. If it finds similar language, you'll get a notification of a detected "churn" and you'll be able to take a look at the two sources side by side. You can also use it to check Wikipedia entries for information that may have come from corporate press releases. The tool is based on a similar project released in the United Kingdom two years ago, which the Sunlight Foundation supported with a grant to make it open source. Churnalism will be available both on the website and as a browser extension. Its database of press releases includes those from EurekaAlert! in addition to PR Newswire, PR News Web, Fortune 500 companies, and government sources. One byproduct of this method is that Churnalism will find text that has been quoted from speeches. Although such quotations are not examples of churnalism per se, Devine says that that information will be helpful to readers too, showing them the context a quote appeared in, and giving them the chance to think about why a reporter selected a particular passage from all of the others. In general, according to Devine, "science press releases seem to get more plagiarized than others." For example, the Sunlight Foundation points to a CBS News article from last fall which shares several phrases -- typically information-laced descriptions such as the list "found in hard plastics, linings of canned food, dental sealants" -- with a press release from EurekaAlert!, as the Churnalism tool's results show. Devine speculates that science journalism may run into this problem more frequently because "the language around the findings in those is so specific that it becomes very hard to reinterpret it."

Make-up tips for Replicants

A woman reverse-engineers the look of the Replicants in Blade Runner. Do Beauty Editors Dream Of Electric Sheep? A Blade Runner Inspired Look | xoVain

April 18, 2013

Google says you aren't allowed to resell your Google Glasses, is that legal?

Don’t Even Think Of Letting Anyone Buy Or Borrow Your New Google Glass Specs – Consumerist
So there you are, one of the first people to get their hands on the Google Glass. You’re tooling around like Geordi LaForge, taking photos or seeing maps or whatever, and your friend is all, “Hey, cool! Can I borrow those?” Stop right there, says Google. The first users of these specs are strictly forbidden from selling, loaning or otherwise letting anyone else touch them. It’s a pretty big deal, and it makes sense that Google doesn’t want these babies popping up on eBay for big bucks. Its terms of sale lay down the law, notes NBC News: ”Unless otherwise authorized by Google … you may not resell, loan, transfer or give your [Glass device] to any other person.” If you mess up and cross the line, Google reserves the right to “deactivate the device” and “neither you nor the unauthorized person using the Device will be entitled to any refund, product support or product warranty.”

April 17, 2013

Mac computers make mor eprofit than the entire PC industry

Mac profits are high: Too high.
One thing that pops out of this is that even though it's the iPhone and the iPad that make Apple such a giant company, they're pretty much killing it as a PC vendor too. That said, particularly in light of the PC sector's decline in the face of quality improvements and a slowed consumer upgrade cycle, you have to wonder why Apple's corporate strategy involves such high profit margins on Macs. It's clear that profits from iPhone and iPad are more than sufficient to meet Tim Cook's goals in terms of dividends and investments. According to Dediu, Apple earns an average 19 percent operating margin on its Mac sales compared to 4 percent for Dell and less than that for HP, Lenovo, and Acer. A question to ask is whether piling up extra cash in the Braeburn Capital account is a smarter strategic move for Apple than investing in larger market share via lower prices. You could cut Mac prices 15 percent across the board to match Dell's margins. If it were me, though, I'd take a good hard look at really shaking the industry up with a 20 percent price cut. That would reposition the Mac as a loss-leader whose function is to enhance the overall value of the Apple ecosystem. You'd recognize that Mac is nowhere near as important as iOS to Apple's bottom line, but that full-fledged computers are still a strategically significant market segment. A world where Mac has a much larger market share is one in which it's much harder to erode iOS' strengths in the mobile and tablet markets. At some point, Mac market share might grow loud enough that the DOJ or FTC would complain about selling at a loss but there's room for substantial market share growth before that kind of "predatory" pricing would become a real issue.