Tech solutions that actually help society, where are they?

So I read this blurb this morning: According to a study conducted by the
Crimes Against Children’s Resource Center, the percentage of Internet users
ages 10 to 17 exposed to unwanted pornography in the previous year
increased from 25% in 2000 to 34% in 2005. According to a survey conducted
in 2004 by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 45% of
teens said they have friends who regularly download pornography from the
Internet. According to Nielsen/Net Ratings for February 2002, nearly 16% of
visitors to ‘adult’ websites were younger than 18 years of age.

Which led me to think, are we doing enough as a society to shield children from this? Should children be allowed or exposed to the expressions of free speech? I’d say the answer is no and no. Listen, I’m all for all of the great things that are being done right now for the benefit of web 2.0 and social networking, it truly is a magical time in our cyber world.

But don’t you think that part of our time as  online marketers and developers, should be devoted to using our awsome strength in regards to creating technology solutions to change things? Shouldn’t our tech knowledge and skills be used in somehow trying to segment our children from porn?  We all might as well admit that we all have seen porn online;, and I would love to see stats on how many adults have viewed porn, either at length, accidentily, or for whatever purpose. The gist is, we have all seen it. it’s too easy to find it. Want to know how easy? Just go into Google images for example and type in a simple term, and chances are some type of porn image will be included. Why? Because as I said in an earlier entry, porn marketers and tech developers are some of the savviest in the business.  They know how to drive traffic into porn related sites. Well you know what? Use some of that savviness to create some type of block to minimize the exposure to children. Riddle me this: What possible good does it serve for a child to view porn?

I don’t think parents have to be obligated to purchase something to block content.  You might think thats a bold statement, but when out in the streets or in public places, porn isn’t a storefront either like it is in cyberspace. Ok yes, there are certain streets in the US that have stroefronts, but you have to go out of your way to get there. the point is, I think there needs to be the www for all of mankind and then there needs to be the xxx  for porn. I know this was shot down, as far as domain extensions go but my other point is, porn needs to have it’s own universe and there need to be hoops that one would have to jump thru besides a button that says enter if you’re over 18. That has to the most assinine barrier to objectionable content I’ve ever seen.

Look, the crux of this rant is to say that it’s just not fair to children for them to see things that they don’t need to see just yet. You’re point might be,”well they will see it eventually”, and my point is, not if there were better controls in place. you might also say, well if they don’t see it here, then they will elsewhere, and I’ll  say, “not if it is made more difficult.” Then I will suggest, how about the only way to view porn online is by having a valid credit card? Then, there would always be a record in case it wasnt used by an adult. Plus, we know that most people under the age of 18 do not have a credit card. Sounds fairly easy doesn’t it?

Can’t blame me for trying, but at least I’m thinking of ways to prevent it. What are you doing about it? Chances are, not much. Thoughts anyone?

Mobile Marketing won’t work until…

I just took part in a poll on LinkedIn in which we were all asked how often we used our mobile device as a browser. The answers were generally that the screen was too small, the load was too slow, and it was entirely too difficult.  Now a portion of the respondents did say that using the Safari browser on their iphones did make it easier, but that was on the iphone only. Which leaves the other 95% of mobile users out in the cold.

Which leads us to all of the wireless carriers right now who are touting their phones access to the web as being so easy to use and how fun it is to connect to get the latest scores, the latest news etc etc.  The problem is website capability suited to mobile devices, Wifi speed compatible to mobile devices and mobile devices compatible to the web in regards to connection speed.

If we look at what has happened within the last 2 years we can see that we are moving there quickly. But right now, the general consensus is that most people do not surf the web using their mobile device simply because the expereince is a pain in the ass.

Let’s also not forget the hidden charge that most wireless carriers tack on above and beyond what you are charged to use your phone as…. a phone.

Here is a typical but more technical explanation of why most people do not use their phones as browsers:

iPhone browser is good, but still needs work. I do use it quite a bit, but it can sometimes be frustrating because its easy to miss links (maybe my phone has an offset issue?) and some sites just put too many images up. EDGE is definitely too slow to be useful for browsing so a wireless connection is a must. And Safari’s support of Javascript seems to be limited so some AJAX type sites don’t work well. The embedded applications like weather, stock-quotes and google maps work great.”

What I like though, is this comment from Greg Harris, CEO of Mobile Visions:

I am not a typical mobile user since I am in the mobile industry, so I will comment on when I use it as a consumer.On my iPhone, I use the browser 90% of the time that I use the actual phone. It has changed mobile web browsing completely, and will produce a major shift in how we view the mobile web going forward. They have set a new standard for manufacturers. I mostly use our iPhone RSS reader to catch up on my blogs and news.

I do not use the phone, the email & sms suck, and I rarely use the iPod.

A better indication would be my Blackberry. While still mostly a phone, and email device, I use the browser about 20% of the time I am using it. Many people don’t use the browsers because they do not know of useful, fast loading mobile web sites that they can access. (We’re working on that.)

There is no question that mobile web browsing is moving beyond the “emergency” stage. Admobs is serving billions of ad impressions. Social networks are appearing every day, and useful mobile web applications are being developed. 

As the bandwidth and handset capabilities improve, and the quality and availability of the content grows, there will continue to be a major shift.

So we know where it’s heading we just need the carriers and the sales people and the marketers to be straight up with the consumers and let them know that yes you can surf the web but it’s not going to be the same as on your pc. And that flip phone we just sold you for free, won’t work nearly as well as this $500 Treo or Blackberry. Even then, We are also going to charge you an additional fee to surf the web and not all of your favorite web sites will be available on your 2×2 or 3×3 screen as well. It might also take some time to load so be patient. 

Do you think the message is mixed to consumers? Are mobile devices primed for public use of the internet or are we still in the infant stages? Is it fair to tell consumers that they can surf the web to their hearts content, when it really might not be the case? Is it fair to charge for a service that really does not work well on the majority of phones? How should social networks be used on a mobile device?

Alot of questions, but the reality is we are going there whether we like it or not. The laptop will be transformed shortly to the kneetop. And the cellphone will be a complete extension of who and what we are, it will be our connection to everything that we know.

The Most Frequent Searches On The Web

The world’s most frequent searchers for Web sites using the keyword “sex” on Google search engines, according to statistics provided by Google are Egypt, India and Turkey.  And you thought all the pervs were here? The term “Jihad”–Morocco, Indonesia, Pakistan. That’s right people in those countries just “want” to learn what the word means. Nothing more…errr. right! Taking it to the next level are the party nations of Ireland, The US and The UK who all need information on the term”Hangover”.  I wonder if the term “remedy” was inadvertently omitted.

Worried about your sexual performance? People in Italy, The United Kingdom,  and Germany were the most prolific when it came to searching for the term “Viagra”. I’m not really sure why they just didn’t check their email.

And lastly, for those who of course don’t inhale, “Marijuana” was searched on the most in Canada, The United States,  and Australia.

How do we let children surf the web?

I came across a subject and a website recently that is near and dear to my heart.  It is called the Childrens Educational Network. I did not know about it prior to this post though. But the topic has been on mind a lot lately. The reason it is important to me is that I think it is imperative to us, as adults, that we shield children from everything that is bad and wrong with the internet. Given the amount of facetime that pedophiles and internet porn is given, less is given to what is being done about it. Which leads me to this site. I am going to quote liberally here, but I don’t think they will mind…

 The Children’s Educational Network (CEN) is a software company developing and marketing a fully integrated suite of Internet software products that empowers parents to provide children a safe platform and meaningful tools to accelerate their children’s education, entertainment, and exploration of the “Information Superhighway” free from hate, violence, pornography and online predators.

Club TUKI is the newest web site community for kids designed to teach kids how to be safe and responsible internet citizens. 

The  TUKI Browser (The Ultimate Kids’ Internet) combines the most fun and safest content on the web for kids, deemed child appropriate based on our content policy. It features interchangeable themes, Internet filter, parental safety controls, safe email, chore reminders, encouraging words and talking animated characters.

You can download the FREE TUKI Browser from the TUKI.com website. Once installed, you can easily swap themes that appeal to different ages, genders and are fun and educational.

What makes this so important is that the alternatives are using a browser that allows children to go almost anywhere. Even with filters on you can still go through doorways and websites and search engines that will provide  content to children that is just unacceptable and leads to questions that parents should not have to answer. What ultimately happens is parents are stuck explaining the “why” and the “how come people do things like this” and the “who are” etc etc..Thus,  I think it’s unfair that children have to be exposed to these things at such an early period of their lives when instead it should be about being a child, first and foremost. If you agree, help me out and forward this post or at least Digg it.

It’s not about Google, It’s Yahoo… Sorry MySpace..

Raise your hand if you use or access all three of the aformentioned.  Ok, I know we all use Google for something, and we all probably have a Yahoo mail account for some reason, and well MySpace… It’s something all together different, But I bet you have vistied a couple of MySpace pages. Hell, you might even have a MySpace page! If so…My bad..

 You see the first 2 sites have a specific purpose whereas MySpace is more “me-time” oriented.  The simple fact that we talk about MySpace in the same breath as a Yahoo mail or Google, is in and of itself an amazing phenomenon. Given it’s realtively short history.

As a social network app., MySpace doesn’t appeal to me that much. The technology that surrounds it does, but thats because I’m sorta “tech-y-geeky”. But we need to look at the demographic for MySpace to fully understand the impact of it. It’s geared towards 18-24 year olds, but it extends in either direction as well. i.e. 50 year olds use it and so do 15 year olds. But what it tells you, is that people are starved for self expression. Starved to meet someone or with the hopes that someone wants to meet them. They should call MySpace a Viral network thats connected by social norms. MyViralSpace.

I heard a comment last night on 60 minutes, that the internet is a  direct reflection of society. I always knew it, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it is so true.  We want to meet other people, we want to be with those people and we want to be rich and we are motivated by things that will pleasure us and we dont want to work for our money, we want to slack off and and we want to have fun. All of the motivators of our off line world transposed online. As if our lives our now 2-D. the online life and the offline. See–>Second Life.

So Yahoo seems to cover it best. Just compare the Google interface with Yahoo. Yahoo is a portal, Google is not. Google is search, Yahoo is more like the place you stop to get your coffee, grab the paper, talk to someone real quick, read your mail, pay a bill, check a score and find out who is sleeping with who before you head to work or start work. Google is for checking for George Clooney’s house pics in Italy, seeing if your old college roomate is in jail, and researching for jobs in a bigger city than the one your currently in. Google is a tool. Yahoo is a resource and MySpace is a nightclub. MySpace is where people go to cruise for others and share their sense of wannabe coolness.

Can all three exist? You betcha, but where they all will stumble is when they think they can  do something that the other is doing, and do it better. Google as a portal? Maybe. Google as a social network, no chance in hell. Yahoo as search, holding their own, Yahoo Mash? The jury is still out. MySpace as a search tool, uhhhhh no. MySpace as a portal, well it sorta is, but not in the literal sense.

Ultimately, as they say content is king and thus Yahoo has prevailed up to this point because the content changes daily, hourly etc. MySpace may have some value in it’s ability to mine the data, but as a destination location, not gonna happen. And Google, well Google is as Google was. The bottom line, they all serve an audience that wont’ be going away anytime soon. At least for the next 12 months

Party on Everest, everyone invited, minimum requirement: the ability to climb 18,000 feet.

According to Oregon Scientific, you’re all invited up to base camp on Mt. Everest for Everest Rocks.  It’s a fourteen-day trek up Mount Everest by 40 of the world’s top musicians and mountaineers, Everest Rocks will culminate with the first-ever rock concert to take place at Mount Everest’s Base Camp.

Footage of the concert, the trek and events leading up to it will be filmed exclusively using Oregon Scientific’s ATC2K Waterproof Action Cam. Forty ATC2K cameras have been
donated to the Love Hope Strength Foundation, making it possible to capture
footage of this ground-breaking event.

The climb is designed to bring awareness to, and raise money for the Love Hope Strength Foundation (LHSF), The Love Hope Strength Foundation (LHSF) is an international not-for-profit organization with chapters in The United States, United Kingdom and Australia, founded by leukemia survivors Mike Peters, of the Welsh Rock Band the Alarm and James Chippendale, President of CSI entertainment. The goal of LHSF is to give people with cancer the same opportunities Peters and Chippendale received including access to information, quality cancer treatment, medications and support.

On a side note. check out the waterproof action cam. It’s only  a $130.