Dan Mitchell

  • News

    September 25, 2013
  • News

    August 14, 2013
  • Blogs

    October 2, 2012

    AT&T, Time Warner Cable Whine About Google Perks

    Back through the foggy mists of time, in 1996, America's telecommunications giants agreed to deploy high-speed broadband Internet service in exchange for all the breaks they got from the Telecommunications Act that passed that year. They proceeded to basically ignore their promises. The United State ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 25, 2012

    Facebook's Ads Are Terrible, and Always Will Be

    Every day for the past week or so, upon signing into Facebook, I've been greeted by a cross-eyed baby trying to lure me into taking part in a get-rich-quick scheme having to do with Forex trading. (Word to the wise, if you see an advertisement with the word "Forex" in it, it's almost certainly some ... More >>

  • News

    September 19, 2012
  • Blogs

    September 18, 2012

    The Return of the Winklevii

    People tend to look down upon the Winklevoss twins for all sorts of reasons: Mainly, because they're greedy, overprivileged, entitled weenies who kept pursuing Mark Zuckerberg in court even after accepting a gigantic settlement for their somewhat tenuous claim that they were in large part responsibl ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 11, 2012

    There Are No Conservatives Worth Following on Social Media

    "Follow liberally," exhorts Liz Heron. "You never know who will lead you to discover something unique or important." This is one of "The Rules of Social Media" that Fast Company thinks we all should adhere to. Heron, who runs social media for the Wall Street Journal, doesn't mean "liberally" in a p ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 4, 2012

    Yes, We Can Blame Facebook and its CFO for Stock Debacle

    It's easy, and to a large degree proper, to blame the people who bought into Facebook's dog of an IPO for their own losses. It was no secret that the company's prospects were highly uncertain. But that doesn't mean that others can't be blamed as well, or that investors are the only ones hurt by the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 28, 2012

    Investing in Buzz Is a Loser's Game

    There will likely never again be anything quite like the dotcom boom-and-bust of the late '90s. But that doesn't mean that everybody learned their lesson about investing in companies with questionable business models -- or at least in those with outsized expectations for growth. It only means that t ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 21, 2012

    Todd Akin: Reaction to Rape Comment Shows the Real Power of Social Media

    Social media is no doubt a powerful force. But in what ways? How does this power manifest itself? Some people, perhaps confused by the word "media," seem to think it's a replacement for dying traditional media outlets -- particularly newspapers -- despite there being zero evidence that this is takin ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 14, 2012

    It Ain't Easy Being Google

    As the dominant search engine, Google inevitably finds itself in the position of deciding for the world which information is important and which information is less so. Just as inevitably, this leads to controversy, and tough choices being forced on the Internet's dominant search engine. The latest ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 7, 2012

    Here's How Easy it is for a Hacker to Wreck Your Life.

    Mat Honan of Wired is a better man than me. In exchange for his promise not to prosecute, he got the hacker who ruined his digital life to talk to him. If it were me, I might have left my need to know the details of the attack, along with my inherent desire to tell a good story, to one side so that ... More >>

  • News

    July 18, 2012
  • Blogs

    July 10, 2012

    The Internet Red Scare

    Congressman Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty organization sounds like it's worried that Commies, or maybe Russian-style state capitalists, are plotting to take over the Internet. In a manifesto issued last week, the group warns that "the road to tyranny is being paved by a collectivist-Industrial com ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 3, 2012

    Turns Out, The Porn Industry Is as Sleazy as The Music Business

    When you read a description like "Las Vegas attorney ... who represents a major adult film company," it's a safe bet that the fellow being described probably isn't fighting poverty or working on a human-rights campaign. And in this case, that bet would be the right one. Marc Randazza has been busil ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 26, 2012

    Facebook's E-mail Hijack Is Part of a Pattern of Arrogance

    If it wasn't clear before, it should be now: Facebook doesn't think much of you. Or of me, or of any of its (supposedly) 900 million users. We are products, not customers. The customers are the people who buy the incredibly cheap, often sleazy ads that Facebook sells. The latest datapoint supportin ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 5, 2012

    'Men Invented the Internet,' New York Times flatly declares

    It was the thud heard 'round the world: The opening sentence of a story about sexism in Silicon Valley anchoring the front page of the New York Times' Sunday business section. "Men Invented the Internet," declared David Streitfeld, and it was impossible not to do a double-take, even if you didn't kn ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 22, 2012

    Facebook's Swoon a Symptom of Wall Street's Sickness

    Facebook's newly issued shares lost 11 percent of their value on Monday, their first full day of public trading after Friday's snafu-filled IPO. That's a loss of $11.5 billion. Tuesday, the fall continued, taking the stock down another 3 percent. Too many shares were issued at too high a price by an ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 15, 2012

    Drifting Away from Twitter, Toward Reality

    I've been known to strongly defend Twitter, which some people have found surprising because of my default digital skepticism. But of course, I was skeptical of it at first (if nothing else, because of the name, which is stupid), until I started using it. It really can be used for quite practical pur ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 8, 2012

    Desperate Newspapers Pin Hopes on Annoyed Readers

    News publishers have always treated readers like commodities -- because that's what readers are. The real customers for publishers aren't readers, but advertisers. Readers are the product. It's not quite that simple, of course, and more enlightened publishers treat readers with respect and cover the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 1, 2012

    Joyless Comic Strip's NYT Parody Falls Flat

    There seems to be a wide and growing divide between people who appreciate healthy portions of meaty journalism and those who prefer a media diet of bite-sized snark snacks full of empty calories. In this context, "old media" outlets like The New York Times can never win, no matter what they do. Even ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 24, 2012

    The Internet Kills Babies

    This is the most ridiculous thing I have read in the past week. Given that I've been reading a lot about Congress and Mitt Romney, that's really saying something. The argument, by Andrew Keen, basically (and despite Keen's ass-covering caveats) blames the Internet for Anders Behring Breivik's murder ... More >>

  • News

    April 18, 2012
  • News

    April 4, 2012
  • Blogs

    April 3, 2012

    Center for Copyright Information: An Anti-piracy Measure That Makes Sense

    About seven years ago, I read something online about a then-recent episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Overcome with the desire to watch the episode for myself, but without a subscription to HBO, I fired up LimeWire, the now-defunct file-sharing software, and quickly found the episode I wanted. An hou ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 8, 2012

    SOPA, Limbaugh, Komen: This Is What Happens When the Mob is Right

    ​There is far too much cheerleading for the "wisdom of crowds." The undiscerning among us, often motivated by an understandable (if often mindless) disgust with institutions, tend to employ buzzwords like "crowdsourcing" and to preach the idea that "the people" are always right even if "the people ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 28, 2012

    WikiLeaks' Data Dump: Let's Hold Off on Pronouncing It a Dud

    ​If the widespread derision of WikiLeaks' latest document drop is any indication, the struggling organization might be nearing the end of its useful life. Still, the stolen e-mails it started publishing on Sunday night so far seem more interesting in general than the trove of diplomatic cables it ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 21, 2012

    Copyright Owners Continue to Tilt at Windmills

    ​Given the intensity of the debates over digital piracy, you'd almost think that if one side or the other were to "win," the question would be decided: If critics of copyright holders were victorious, piracy would run rampant and the media industry would be brought to its knees; if the copyright o ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 14, 2012

    News Sites Can't Rely on Advertising

    ​I'm not about to pretend that I know how to solve the economic dilemma that the news business finds itself in. I've been studying the matter, and writing about it off and on, for 16 years, and, like everyone, I really don't know. Maybe it will be nonprofits. Maybe paywalls. Maybe micropayments wi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 31, 2012

    Sorry, Twitter, if You're in the Media Business, You're a Media Company

    ​Given how Silicon Valley moguls flee from the term "media company," you'd almost think it was as bad as "child-porn merchant." But whether they like it or not, companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter are media companies. They don't have precisely the same business models as News Corp., Disne ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 24, 2012

    Megaupload Bust Highlights Absurdity of SOPA/PIPA

    ​Last week, just as two ill-conceived anti-piracy bills were disintegrating in Congress in the face of a massive online protest, the FBI, with help from foreign governments, was busting Megaupload, one of the biggest sources of pirated digital goods. The timing was interesting, though the feds s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 10, 2012

    MySpace Says It's Bringing TV to the Web -- But It Isn't

    ​Specific Media, now the owners of MySpace, took Justin Timberlake on stage with them Monday night at the Consumer Electronic Show, and with a lot of fanfare, they announced ... essentially nothing. The purported big news is that MySpace is revolutionizing television by bringing it to the Web an ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 20, 2011

    The Recording Industry Makes Itself Look Stupid Yet Again While Battling Piracy

    ​Over at Dan Mitchell's Digital Tremors column on our news blog, the Snitch, there's an interesting debate brewing over the recording industry's response to some piracy advocates' claims that its employees downloaded music and other files illegally. Mitchell's take is that while disputing thes ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 13, 2011

    Wikipedia: Should it Go Dark to Protest the Stop Online Privacy Act?

    ​Should Wikipedia shut itself down to protest the bizarrely clueless anti-piracy measures Congress is considering? As with many things about Wikipedia (such as whether an encyclopedia that anybody can edit is a good idea), it's not an easy question to answer. Would it even be effective? It's har ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 29, 2011

    Facebook's Cheesy Ads: Do They Make it Worth $100 Billion?

    ​A couple of weeks ago, Business Insider, the puerile gossip 'n' lies site run by disgraced, bubble-era Internet-stock analyst Henry Blodget, informed us that a "source close to Facebook employees" said in an e-mail to the site that the company would go public within weeks. The article's author, N ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 22, 2011

    Facebook Fumbles Its Way Toward a Phone

    ​Facebook is building a phone, the Wall Street Journal's All Things Digital is reporting this week in a series of posts. Facebook basically has to do it if it wants to stay in competition with Apple and Google as the go-to online destination -- or platform, or "ecosystem." Lots of people make Fa ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 25, 2011

    Groupon's Big Bowl of Problems

    ​Groupon, it appears, means to get rich or die tryin'. On Friday, it updated a regulatory filing indicating that it is scaling back its IPO plans. Less than five months ago, when it first filed, the company said it planned to raise about $750 million. Now that's been reduced to $540 million. The e ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 11, 2011 The Li'l ISP that Stood up to the Feds

    ​I way overpay for my monthly Internet service. There are a bunch of reasons:, my ISP, has great customer service. It almost never goes down. The website is simple and user-friendly. It updates it quickly with service info. When you call them, they talk to you like you're a fellow human, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 27, 2011

    Facebook's Newest Blight: The Ticker

    ​Recently, to check to see whether my keyboard was working, I randomly slapped some keys. I happened to have Facebook open at the time and I ended up entering what I typed -- "jmjyttyj"-- into its people search. I got three hits. There is no member named jmjyttyj, but Facebook helpfully pointed me ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 16, 2011

    Google Thumbs Nose at Antitrust Regulators

    ​You can't say Google doesn't have balls. Despite increasingly heavy antitrust scrutiny by the federal government, the Internet behemoth is charging ahead with a deal that brings all kinds of potential for cornering a market. It will pay $12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility, a leading maker of hand ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 27, 2011

    Netflix Saga: Fight for Your Right to Cheap Video Rentals

    ​Americans have collectively developed a keen sense of entitlement. That's why so many of us think we have a "right" to undeserved pay raises, undeserved good grades in school, free software, free music, low-priced gasoline; that we have a "right" to act like jackasses in traffic or in Internet co ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 19, 2011

    Why Are Tech Journos Suddenly Interested in News Corp. Scandal?

    ​When I was a staff editor at the tech-news site CNET in the late '90s, one of the top editors there used to insist that we "localize" big news events by writing about how they were being covered and discussed on the Internet. So, for example, the death of Princess Di and the impeachment ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 28, 2011

    Lindsay Lohan Shills for Pump-and-Dump Stocks on Twitter

    ​To get an idea of just how classy those "sponsored" celebrity tweets can be, take a look at what Lindsay Lohan tweeted last night. "Have you guys seen food and gas prices lately?" she asked. Yes, we have, Lindsay. Have you? Then her tweet took a weird turn, into economic analysis: "U.S. $ will so ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 15, 2011

    Pandora Goes Public for $3 Billion. Happy Face?

    Ninety million users, zero profits.​First, a word of congratulations to Pandora, the Oakland-based Internet radio service whose initial public stock offering today resulted in a nearly $235 million windfall to its investors. The company is now valued at $3 billion. You can buy its stock on the New ... More >>

  • News

    June 1, 2011
  • Blogs

    May 24, 2011

    Foursquare: The Silliest Thing Ever Invented

    ​Before I started using Twitter a couple of years ago, I, like many people then and now, assumed it must be the silliest thing ever invented. The stupid name didn't (and doesn't) help. Mainly, I thought people used it for telling the world what they had for lunch, but I then looked into the matter ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 10, 2011

    Facebook Paying People to Watch Ads Won't Work

    Caitlinator/Flickr​I'm frankly amazed that in all the coverage of Facebook's plan to pay users to watch ads, nobody -- as far as I can tell -- has mentioned the several companies that tried to do something similar during the (original) dot-com boom, and failed spectacularly. The most famous of th ... More >>

  • News

    January 26, 2011
  • Blogs

    April 16, 2010

    Does Large-Scale Urban Fish Farming Make Sense Here?

    Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago TribuneA student at the Chicago High School of Agricultural Science checks on an experimental tank of tilapia.​Our favorite morsel from the blogs. Mission fishin': While the idea of urban farming continues to crackle through the zeitgeist, for most of us it's still more ... More >>

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