Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, August 31, 2021

give me
Britney Spears is back on the horse. Her new comeback single, “Gimme More”, debuted on the website of NYC’s Z100 today.

And, while supplies last — or at least until the Z100.com crew figures out how to mask a URL — you can download the MP3 track by right-clicking here.

Really amazing that by this point, a major media channel would leave a track with such built-in popularity exposed to mass download. It’s not the most pristine recording — only 160kbps — but hey, it’s decent. And free.

As for the track itself? It’s alright. I rather like that “It’s Britney, bitch” opening. But it’s a bit overproduced for me, doubtless the influence of Timbaland protege Danja. It’s still Britney, but not as infectious as her past efforts. I’ll keep a lookout for the forthcoming dance remixes, hopefully on iTunes.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 08/31/2007 07:38 PM
Category: Celebrity, Internet, Pop Culture, Radio
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I already knew that getting sinners into the confession box was suddenly a challenge for the Church.

I wouldn’t have guessed that the Church would rather switch than fight, ala confession-dot-com websites:

Click over to IveScrewedUp.com, and a black-and-white, Goth-tattoo-style graphic bursts onto the screen. You’re invited to type in a description of your sins, along with your age and hometown. Click “send” and it’s done; you’ve confessed — to the webmaster of Flamingo Road Church, a Florida congregation affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention…

Several other confessional sites also hold out the promise of catharsis, with a vaguely religious gloss. The Universal Life Church, famed for do-it-yourself ordinations, offers an online “Absolution of Sins Application Form.” A gossipy secular site, DailyConfession.com, arranges sins by categories that mirror the Ten Commandments.

Catholics can try absolution-online.com, which invites you to fill a shopping cart with your sins (choices include calumny, vainglory, disregard for the environment and use of Ouija boards). The site then calculates an appropriate penance — say, 228 Hail Marys and 43 Our Fathers.

Not everyone thinks an answer via computer monitor completes the spiritual transaction:

When a priest grants absolution, “you know that you’re back in the community of God,” [Los Angeles' Father Sloan] said. On the Internet, he asks, “where’s that ‘Welcome home, son’?”

So it’s not enough to air out your dirty laundry — someone has to grant you the OK. More of a collaborative effort, I’ll grant you. But I often get something out of merely writing out an idea, observation, etc. — to me, that gives it a substance beyond merely residing in my brain. For me, it’s enough. I imagine it’s the same for digitally-acclimated sinners as well.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 08/31/2007 03:37 PM
Category: Internet, Society
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A browse through this blog’s Wi-Fi category reveals a preoccupation by yours truly of municipal efforts to erect wireless Internet networks.

I may not be thus preoccupied much longer: Earthlink, AT&T and other providers are balking at further build-outs even in underway projects, citing low usage and lack of city funding.

When EarthLink and MetroFi first bid for Wi-Fi contracts several years ago, they often agreed to foot the bill for network build-out, operations, maintenance, and upgrades. They also frequently agreed to pay cities to lease public facilities, such as light poles, to hold Wi-Fi transmitters. If that wasn’t enough, the companies also promised some cities a chunk of their subscription and advertising revenues, as well as free usage of the Wi-Fi networks by city workers. EarthLink’s troubled San Francisco contract, for example, contains many of these terms.

One major flaw in these arrangements has been that initial forecasts for Wi-Fi subscriptions used to justify the investment in these networks have proven to be overly optimistic by a wide margin. In many cases, 15% to 30% of an area’s population was expected to sign up for muni Wi-Fi. But only 1% to 2% have signed up so far figures Glenn Fleishman, editor of an industry blog called Wifinetnews.com.

While rising demand for advertising on municipal Wi-Fi networks is helping offset the shortfall in subscription revenue, there’s a catch-22 at play here: Higher user numbers might generate more ad revenue, but network operators might need to cut fees to attract more users.

Is it realistic to push through enough ad inventory during the average few minutes someone is accessing the network? To me, free public wi-fi hotspots are good for spot-checking the Web: Check your email, check your blog, look up movie times, get local maps/directions, etc. That’s it. It’s not for lounging for a couple of hours of Web surfing. Battery life alone is an obstacle to that. A typical online media model for advertising doesn’t make much sense.

I’d still love to see a more widespread use of free wi-fi, for always-on access (independent of cellphone networks and the like). Maybe there’s a workaround no one’s dreamed up yet.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 08/31/2007 02:29 PM
Category: Wi-Fi
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