Now Playing: Brand New Tools for Video Editing
Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Monday, 4 April 2011
Video Editing tools from YouTube
Now Playing: Brand New Tools for Video Editing
Xtranormal lets you to turn anything you type into a fully-animated CG movie. Set up your scene, type in your script, and animate it instantly. Easily share something funny... by Xtranormal
Tell a story with your digital content. Mix pictures, videos, maps, text, music and watch Stupeflix produce a stunning video in a few seconds. It's fast, easy, and free to ... by stupeflix
GoAnimate is a fun app that lets you make animated videos, for free, in just 10 minutes, without having to draw. You can even create your own cast of characters. There ar... by GoAnimate
Wednesday, 9 February 2011
No Internet due to the nGovernment "shutting it down" - Suggestion are here
Now Playing: How to Communicate if the Government Shut Down the Internet
February 9th, 2011
(LibertyNewsOnline) – Scenario: Your government is displeased with the communication going on in your location and pulls the plug on your internet access, most likely by telling the major ISPs to turn off service.
This is what happened in Egypt Jan. 25 prompted by citizen protests, with sources estimating that the Egyptian government cut off approximately 88 percent of the country’s internet access. What do you do without internet? Step 1: Stop crying in the corner. Then start taking steps to reconnect with your network. Here’s a list of things you can do to keep the communication flowing.
NOTE: If you have advice to add, please log in and Aadd your comments.
MAKE YOUR NETWORK TANGIBLE
Print out your contact list, so your phone numbers aren’t stuck in the cloud. Some mail services like Gmail allow you to export your online contact list in formats that are more conducive to paper, such as CSV or Vcard, and offer step-by-step guides on how to do this.
BROADCAST ON THE RADIO:
CB Radio: Short for “Citizens Band” radio, these two-way radios allow communication over short distances on 40 channels. You can pick one up for about $20 to $50 at Radio Shack, and no license is required to operate it.
Ham radio: To converse over these radios, also known as “amateur radios,” you have to obtain an operator’s license from the FCC. Luckily, other Wired How-To contributors have already explained exactly what you need to do to get one and use it like a pro. However, if the President declares a State of Emergency, use of the radio could be extremely restricted or prohibited.
GMRS: The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is a licensed land-mobile FM UHF radio service in the United States available for short-distance two-way communication. It is intended for use by an adult individual who possesses a valid GMRS license, as well as his or her immediate family members… They are more expensive than the walkie talkies typically found in discount electronics stores, but are higher quality.
Family Radio Service: The Family Radio Service (FRS) is an improved walkie talkie radio system authorized in the United States since 1996. This personal radio service uses channelized frequencies in the ultra high frequency (UHF) band. It does not suffer the interference effects found on citizens’ band (CB) at 27 MHz, or the 49 MHz band also used by cordless phones, toys, and baby monitors.
Microbroadcasting: Microbroadcasting is the process of broadcasting a message to a relatively small audience. This is not to be confused with low-power broadcasting. In radio terms, it is the use of low-power transmitters to broadcast a radio signal over the space of a neighborhood or small town. Similarly to pirate radio, microbroadcasters generally operate without a license from the local regulation body, but sacrifice range in favor of using legal power limits.
Packet Radio Back to the ’90s: There do exist shortwave packet-radio modems. These are also excruciatingly slow, but may get your e-mail out. Like ham radio above it requires a ham radio license because they operate on ham radio frequencies.
Set up a phone tree: According to the American Association of University Women, a phone tree is “a prearranged, pyramid-shaped system for activating a group of people by telephone” that can “spread a brief message quickly and efficiently to a large number of people.” Dig out that contact list you printed out to spread the message down your pyramid of contacts.
Enable Twitter via SMS: Though the thought of unleashing the Twitter fire hose in your text message inbox may seem horrifying, it would be better than not being able to connect to the outside world at all. The Twitter website has full instructions on how to redirect tweets to your phone.
Call to Tweet: A small team of engineers from Twitter, Google and SayNow, a company Google acquired recently, made this idea a reality. It’s already live and anyone can tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers (+16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855) and the service will instantly tweet the message using the hashtag #egypt. No Internet connection is required. People can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to the Twitter account, speak2tweet.
Alex Jones and infowars.com have a telephone number for people to listen to his radio show by phone, in case the internet goes down, or if you don’t have internet. The phone in listen line is 512-646-5000.
If you need to quickly send and receive documents with lengthy or complex instructions, phone conversations may result in misunderstandings, and delivering the doc by foot would take forever. Brush the dust off that bulky old machine, establish a connection by phone first with the recipient to make sure his machine is hooked up, then fax away.
You may not need a fax machine to send or receive faxes if your computer has a dial-up fax application.
NON-VIRTUAL BULLETIN BOARD
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the virtual world that we forget about resources available in the real world. Physical bulletin boards have been used for centuries to disseminate information and don’t require electricity to function. If you are fortunate enough to be getting information from some other source why not share it with your friends and neighbors with your own bulletin board? Cork, magnetic and marker bulletin boards are as close as your nearest dime store and can be mounted just about anywhere. And if push comes to shove you can easily make your own with scrap wood lying around the house.
Getting back onlineWhile it might be relatively easy for a government to cut connections by leveraging the major ISPs, there are some places they wouldn’t get to so readily, like privately-owned networks and independent ISPs.
FIND THE PRIVATELY RUN ISPs
In densely populated areas, especially in central business districts and city suburbs there are multiple home WiFi networks overlapping each other, some secure, some not. If there is no internet, open up your WiFi by removing password protection: If enough people do this it’s feasible to create a totally private WiFi service outside government control covering the CBD, and you can use applications that run Bonjour (iChat on Mac for example) to communicate with others on the open network and send and receive documents. **needs more clarification
If you are a private ISP, it’s your time to shine. Consider allowing open access to your Wi-Fi routers to facilitate communication of people around you until the grid is back online.
RETURN TO DIAL-UP
According to an article in the BBC about old tech’s role in the Egyptian protests, “Dial-up modems are one of the most popular routes for Egyptians to get back online. Long lists of international numbers that connect to dial-up modems are circulating in Egypt thanks to net activists We Re-Build, Telecomix and others.”
Dial-up can be slow. Often, there is a lightweight mobile version of a site that you can load from your desktop browser quickly despite the limitations of dial-up. Examples: mobile.twitter.com, m.facebook.com, m.gmail.com.
Most wireless routers, PCs, laptops, and even some ultramobile devices like cellphones have the ability to become part of an “ad hoc” network, where different “nodes” (all of the devices on the network) share the responsibility of transmitting data with one another. These networks can become quite large, and are often very easy to set up. If used properly by a tech-savvy person, such networks can be used to host temporary websites and chat rooms. There are many internet tutorials on the internet for ad hoc networking, so feel free to google some.
Apple computers tend to have very accessible ad hoc functionality built in, including a pre-installed chat client (iChat) that will automatically set up an ad hoc “Rendezvous” chatroom among anybody on the network, without the need for an external service like AIM or Skype. Ad hoc network-hosting functionality is built in to the Wi-Fi menu.
Windows computers have several third-party ad hoc chat applications available (such as Trillian) and setting up an ad hoc Wi-Fi network is almost as simple as on a Mac.
Linux operating systems, of course, have plenty of third-party apps available, and most distros have ad hoc network-creation support built in.
BUILD LARGE BRIDGED WIRELESS NETWORK
Using popular wireless access point devices like a Linksys WRT54G, you can create a huge wireless bridged network — effectively creating a Local Area Network (LAN), or a private Internet that can be utilized by all users within range using a Wi-Fi enabled device.
You can also link multiple devices together wirelessly, extending the range of your network. Most access points will cover a 100 meter area and if your wireless device is built to support the 802.11n wireless standard, you will get almost a 500 meter coverage area for each access point.
To build a wireless bridge, check out the dd-wrt wiki, and learn how to configure Linksys WRT54G as a wireless client using this Anandtech thread.
A used DS family device can be purchased inexpensively. In addition to wi-fi, the DS supports its own wireless protocols. Using Pictochat, it is possible to chat with nearby DS users without having any DS games. Unfortunately, the range is quite short.
Some games, such as the fourth generation Pokemon games, support mail items. Thus you can send your message under the guise of just playing a game. Mail items can be sent through the Internet if you can get on the net and you and your partner(s) have each other’s friend codes.
The original DS and the DS Lite do support the Opera web browser, but finding the game card and memory pack may be very difficult. Starting with the DSi, Opera is downloadable.
Your computer has the ability to set up your own INTRANET. This was done BEFORE the internet was popularized in two ways: Your computer dialed up other computers and sent them the contents of a message board, or local people people dialed into your computer. A nationwide system can be set up this way with a central location sending to many cities then each city sending out the info locally.
If you’re going to post government secrets on your work-around site, you may want to set up an untraceable account. Really, you only need a mail drop, an assumed name, a prepaid credit card you can get at many stores to set up service.
GET SATELLITE ACCESS
You can have very, very slow internet if you have something similiar to an Iridium phone, which would allow you to do dial up at 2400 baud, which at least gives you e-mail. This will also work when your government has shut down GSM and telephone access, and will work pretty much anywhere on the planet. If you’re in the right place, get yourself KA-SAT access which is satellite broadband and will not be routed through any internet exchange that certain local governments may monitor or block (unless that government is part of EU or er … Uncle Sam.
BACK TO BASICS
Make some noise: Have an air horn or other loud instrument handy. It may just come down to being able to alert people in your local geographic area, who would otherwise be unaware of an emergency. You may also want to learn a bit about Morse code and have a cheat sheet available.
Monday, 7 February 2011
Portland Indymedia Principles of Unity
Now Playing: UNITY AND - YOU BE THE MEDIA ((( i )))
Portland Indymedia Principles of Unity
==============================================================PRINCIPLES OF UNITY 1. The Independent Media Center Network (IMCN) is based upon principles of equality, decentralization and local autonomy. The IMCN is not derived from a centralized bureaucratic process, but from the self-organization of autonomous collectives that recognize the importance in developing a union of networks. 2. All IMC's consider open exchange of and open access to information a prerequisite to the building of a more free and just society. [3. All IMC's respect the right of activists who choose not to be photographed or filmed.] 4. All IMC's, based upon the trust of their contributors and readers, shall utilize open web based publishing, allowing individuals, groups and organizations to express their views, anonymously if desired. **see appendix: Open Publishing document --> still in proposal phase, at this address: http://lists.indymedia.org/mailman/public/imc-communication/2001-April/001707.html http://lists.indymedia.org/mailman/public/imc-communication/2001-April/000874.html 5. The IMC Network and all local IMC collectives shall be not-for-profit. 6. All IMC's recognize the importance of process to social change and are committed to the development of non-hierarchical and anti-authoritarian relationships, from interpersonal relationships to group dynamics. Therefore, shall organize themselves collectively and be committed to the principle of consensus decision making and the development of a direct, participatory democratic process] that is transparent to its membership. 7. [All IMC's recognize that a prerequisite for participation in the decision making process of each local group is the contribution of an individual's labor to the group.] 8. All IMC's are committed to caring for one another and our respective communities both collectively and as individuals and will promote the sharing of resources including knowledge, skills and equipment. 9. All IMC's shall be committed to the use of free source code, whenever possible, in order to develop the digital infrastructure, and to increase the independence of the network by not relying on proprietary software. 10. All IMC's shall be committed to the principle of human equality, and shall not discriminate, including discrimination based upon race, gender, age, class or sexual orientation. Recognizing the vast cultural traditions within the network, we are committed to building [diversity] within our localities.
Saturday, 5 February 2011
TWEET - Hear Me - ... Oh I do!... ReTweet Tweet tweet
Now Playing: Social Media & Why one person usees Twitter
A few thoughts from John Fleck, a writer of journalism and other things, living in New Mexico
Posted on | February 5, 2011 |
Three interesting case studies this week in the use of social media in my journalism (or in one case just my life), which I hope might be of some interest to others (especially colleagues who have been skeptical of its utility – you know who you are).
New Mexico had a historic storm this week, a freeway-clogging, school-closing, pipe-freezing, gas-service-interrupting mess. One of my jobs at the newspaper is to pay attention to the weather and explain/warn as needed. I could not have done that, or done it as well, without Twitter.
Every newsroom I’ve worked in over the decades has had, as its soundtrack, the chatter of a police scanner. We know how to use that – quick bursts of information, often unconfirmed, that are worth paying attention to in a low level, background way.
My Twitter feed is like that, but on a broad range of topics. It includes, for example, a number of people working at the National Weather Service’s Albuquerque office, who do a great job of sending out links to their latest forecast information, interesting data, and a heads up when the weather is about to get interesting. (That’s Kerry Jones and Daniel Porter you see in the accompanying picture, passing along a link to Daniel’s latest storm update.) My feed also includes other journalists, emergency services folks (both agency and individual feeds) and a lot of regular people who live around New Mexico. When an event like our epic cold happens, the chatter picks up, creating an ambient awareness of the developing situation – tidbits to check out, alerts from government officials, journalists linking to their latest info, people asking questions, other people giving answers.
There is, for example, Melwell Romancito up in Taos, where the gas has been off for more than 48 hours. I have no idea who she is, but people started Retweeting her stuff, I followed her, and she’s become a great source of information. (She just pointed out a problem with some info that’s currently making the rounds from an earlier gas company release. Turns out we still have that info on the newspaper’s web site. Must get it fixed.) Or TaosJohn, who shared a link to the Taos Police Department Facebook page. There also are official channels, like the New Mexico public safety folks.
This is the sort of ongoing, rapid fire communication that has always gone on in a story like this – trying to reach out and communicate as quickly as possible with a range of people who might have relevant information. Twitter is simply a huge force multiplier.
The second case study is far simpler and less freighted, but has a lot of similarities.
I don’t write much directly about economics, but it is an important boundary condition for a lot of what I cover – water policy, energy, environmental issues. So I try to have a sort of ongoing ambient awareness about what’s going on in the economy, to help me understand when I need to dive into in more detail. My Twitter feed includes a list of economists and economics journalists (and probably some people who are both) that acts as a sort of police scanner for the economy. When Friday’s confusing set of jobs/unemployment numbers came out, I didn’t have the time or the expertise to sort it out myself. But that was OK, because the people I follow on Twitter did it for me in a 24-hour burst of shared links – first alerting me to the data release, then taking me through the sorting out they were all doing.
Again, this is the sort of thing I could have done (and often still do) in other ways – hunting through the econ blogs and work of various journalists or diving into the data myself. Twitter made it far easier and more serendipitous.
There are a lot of other subject areas like these – New Mexico politics and the state legislature, climate science and politics, energy policy, western water – where a carefully assembled Twitter feed of smart people chatting about what they know is an incredibly useful way of tracking what’s going on. Having the equivalent of a police scanner for the water policy beat is awesome.
In the previous cases, I am my own “curator”, picking which feeds to follow, getting a feel for who to listen to and how. The previous cases also relate directly to my job. The final case study is Egypt, where I’ve joined 39,414 other twitter users (as of 8:27 p.m. MST Saturday) and outsourced the curation to Andy Carvin. Amy Gahran at Knight Digital Media explains a bit about who Carvin is (NPR “senior strategist”, whatever that means) and how he’s doing it. The bottom line is that he’s find and sharing information at an amazingly rapid fire and amazingly useful rate.
Plus, there’s ro_bot_dylan.
Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.
I have my Twitter info page here:
Sunday, 14 November 2010
F* Corporate Media - Do I have to Explain This? - Watch The Video ((( i )))
Mood: hug me
Now Playing: F* Corporate Media
Fuck The Corporate Media
Monday, 11 October 2010
Media, Chomsky, Kevin Report, corrupt Government complexity
Now Playing: The Kevin Report (A blog I ran across reading about the media and about Noam Chomsky)
I found this interesting blog and wanted to share it with Z3 Readers... I believe it is written by Kevin.
The Kevin Report
Recently it dawned on me that one of the things I most like doing is acting as a filter for people. I like going out into the worlds of information, music, and technology and picking out samples that I think will appeal to people I know, or anybody for that matter. In this way, I'm a human aggregator.
This site will be focused on current news stories that I feel offer a departure from the general agenda of the mainstream media. The term "mainstream media" is loaded, though, and many if not most of the articles I post will come from established, mainstream sources.
In any institution there will be outliers. There will be stories in the (typically mainstream) New York Times that go against the grain of the US media as a whole, for example. The problem is that many of them get buried under the din of the other stories, as their antithetical counterparts get more attention, more repetition.
Choosing stories largely from established news outlets, but which don't conform to what we might call the overall narrative of the mainstream media, gives us the ability to rely on rigorous journalistic practices while still allowing a different picture to emerge. Rarely will an established news outlet publish an out-and-out lie. Usually they skew the picture of reality by omission, by suggestion of what constitutes an acceptable range of opinion across the imaginary Left-Right spectrum, and by exaggerating the extent to which certain ideas are accepted in the worlds of science and academia, and minimizing the extent to which certain ideas are actually largely agreed upon in these worlds.
The ideas I'm putting forth here are not new or original in any way. I make no secret that most of my inspiration comes from Noam Chomsky, who along with others, has provided compelling evidence of systematic distortions of reality by the mainstream media. I consider Noam Chomsky to be the great genius of our time with respect to moral/political philosophy. He has already earned the reputation of a genius in the field of Linguistics, where his work has been undeniably groundbreaking.
Unfortunately, Professor Chomsky is all too often ignored. His works are very widely read around the world, yet in the US media, he is conspicuously absent from the discussion, unlike in the media elsewhere. But if we're interested in the reducing of human suffering, not to mention the very survival of the human race, we ought to pay more attention to this genius in our midst, an Einstein of our time, always willing to speak up and offer his opinion in the here and now, though nobody knows for how much longer, as he is getting on in years.
So it is, in general, the narrative offered by Chomsky and others that I will try to present on this blog. And the narrative goes something like this:
As citizens of the United States we have a shared responsibility for the actions of our government. Many if not most of us have little inkling of some of the injustices carried out in our names. Most of these injustices are uncontroversially accepted and well known to those who bother to do the research. The problem is that most people don't and perhaps can't bother. Most of us are too busy chasing the American dream, or just scraping by, to carefully research any topic, let alone get a wide range of news sources on current events.
For most of us, it's simply enough to get a headline here and there, or maybe to watch 30 minutes of news with commercials and fluff pieces interspersed. Couple this with the general sense we have about our country's unerring goodness, and a picture emerges of a government which values freedom, always goes to war with the right intentions, and does its best to take care of its own.
Unfortunately things are worse than this. Much worse. While it's impossible to paint the entire US government with the same brush (especially when you consider that in a democracy we're all part of the government), what we can say is that if the average citizen were truly willing to accept the reality of some of the things done in our name, there would be radical change.
We live in a time when nuance is seldom embraced. You're either in this camp or that, with no in betweens. Either America is a great force for good in this world or it's not. Either you support the troops or you don't. Either your government is good or it isn't.
Well there's a descriptor for this kind of thinking, and it's "childish". As we grow older, we learn to see more nuance. We're more willing, for example, to accept that it's ok to break the pharmacy store window to get medicine for a dying person who needs it, whereas a four year old will simply tell you it's wrong to break a window and to steal.
Embracing nuance and complexity, we can see that to attack a government which is only partially democratic - and therefore does not always speak for us - is not to attack the American people as a whole. We can see that our government is capable of carrying out the greatest good and the greatest evil. We can also let go of the notion that if our government does evil that we're doomed and that we're stripped of the soothing illusions necessary to be happy and carry on in life.
For any willing to accept reality, know this: Our government has and continues to carry out and participate in some very awful atrocities. From wars waged directly and indirectly over the years in Latin America, Indochina, The Middle East, and elsewhere, we have been complicit in the deaths and suffering of millions. Our media is to a certain extent subservient to our government, as well as the general public, who are often unwilling to accept these realities. Therefore they have done a fairly awful job at presenting the truth.
As if this weren't enough, we are in a dangerous era of nuclear capability. As our actions continue to inflame extremism throughout the world, the stakes are getting higher and higher in the US's game of global domination. Not only this, but the crisis of climate change has also received shamefully little attention and has not been presented in a truly balanced way in our media.
We very well may be on the verge of extinction as a species. And in the shorter term, with the erosion of constitutional rights in this country, the US government is on the verge of becoming an extremely tyrannical regime, its people racked with extreme poverty and inequality between the upper and lower classes, leading to less democracy, less control over what our government does, and therefore less ability to slow or stop the atrocities committed in the name of power and greed by a few bad but powerful apples.
I believe that when people are properly informed, and when they're honest with themselves, they can act to make the world a better place. This is why I spend my time finding and presenting news stories to others. In addition, I believe in the value of humor, even in the darkest of times, so I will sometimes post articles which are funny, often in an illuminating way, but sometimes just for a good laugh. And then there is the occasional randomly interesting article.
Here's hoping this does some good for somebody out there.
(Kevin, well I read it and it did, do some good - thanks! ~joe anybody)
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
Innocent Videographer Sentenced to 300 Days in Cook County Jail
Now Playing: Journilst gets 300 days in jail
Innocent Videographer Sentenced to 300 Days in Cook County Jail – Free Gregory Koger!
“I am astonished by the extreme measures taken against Gregory Koger, all for misdemeanor charges. This is not justice, especially for a person of his moral standing.”
|From safeguarding Internet transactions to squeezing meaning out of Twitter streams, Portland companies are generating bold new ideas for the Web. |
Photo: Dustin Eppers/EnzymePDX
It’s no secret that Portland is home to some serious ingenuity when it comes to software and technology. What’s lesser known is how many varied, innovative uses of the Web call Oregon home. This list is a small sampling of the best of the Web, grown right here.
Mission: Influencing the Influencers
The Company: Twitalyzer
What They Do: Twitalyzer attempts to make sense of the vast reams of data pouring in through Twitter’s worldwide user base by carefully measuring every last detail about how you use the popular messaging/micro-blogging service. It can tell you how much impact your account has, whether you’re considered a source, sun or spider, and an endless stream of other deceptively technical variables with endearing names like Generosity, Engagement, Clout and “Klout.” The service was featured on the social networking site Mashable in May, and offers plans ranging from free personal accounts for individuals to monthly plans for heavy-duty corporate users.
Behind the Code: Twitalyzer is produced by Portland-based Web Analytics Demystified, a web analytics company headed by Eric Peterson.
Mission: Spreading the Stories
The Company: IdeaMensch.com
What They Do: Every day, the folks at IdeaMensch, whose tagline is “Passionate People Bringing Ideas to Life,” post an interview with someone who has a unique story to tell. The interviews focus on entrepreneurs or leading business leaders, and offer rare glimpses into the thought process behind people with ideas who decide to take a risk and go for it. The site’s library of interviews covers a wide spread of topics, including hangover cures, Greek wine, high-tech industry and comic books. Heavy hitters who’ve gotten the IdeaMensch treatment include marketing celebrity Seth Godin, social media leader Chris Brogan, and the titular Craig Newmark of Craigslist.
Behind the Code: IdeaMensch is the brainchild of Mario Schulzke out of Los Angeles, with Portland-based Evan Davies manning community and marketing efforts.
Mission: Making the Music
The Company: CDBaby.com
What They Do: CDBaby is one of the world’s largest distributors of independent music, with a commitment to making sure that artists are paid their due. What started as a side project for founder Derek Sivers to help his friends sell their music online blossomed into a gateway for independent musicians to get their music out to the world. Now, the site offers hosting solutions and website development for artists, a service that matches musicians with promoters to facilitate bookings, and even rentable credit card swipers that bands can use at shows to sell albums.
Behind the Code: Although Sivers sold CDBaby in 2008, the company remains headquartered in Portland. Sivers’ next projects include virtual assistant company MuckWork and free online song contest site SongTest.
Mission: Securing Payments Online
The Company: Iovation
What They Do: With so many options to make payments online, there’s now an incredible amount of ways for the sneaky to snag credit card numbers, initiate fraudulent “chargebacks” against vendors, and launder cash through virtual currencies. Iovation’s suite of online services can perform instant reputation checks against buyers to guard against fraud before it happens, and can identify known fraudulent users who have been reported by other watchdog bodies. The applications are present virtually anywhere the Internet and monetary transactions intersect – from the financial sector to online gaming and gambling.
Behind the Code: Iovation’s co-founders, CEO Greg Pierson and VP Corporate Development Jon Karl, both hold degrees from Oregon State University.
Mission: A Watchful Eye, Inside Your Site
The Company: New Relic
What They Do: VC-backed New Relic sums up its very technical offering in a simplistic statement: “to monitor and troubleshoot Java and Ruby apps.” With software products constantly migrating to the Web as opposed to installed programs that live on your computer (think Google’s Gmail versus Microsoft’s Outlook), an entire new ecosystem has been created – that is, of ways your favorite Web application could possibly break down. New Relic’s RPM tool tracks performance and offers troubleshooting assistance when Web applications act up, and just recently reached more than 5,000 active users – including big-time corporations like Sony Music, AT&T Interactive and The Washington Post.
Behind the Code: While the company is officially headquartered in San Francisco, its Portland office recently moved into a new space downtown.
The Tip of the Iceberg
This list is just a start – there are many local outfits innovating on the Web. Know of a Portland or Oregon company making new strides online? Let us know in the comments.
Gary Wolfram: Oil tax will hurt national economy
There should be no doubt that our nation's flagging economic recovery has been disappointing.
Nationally, unemployment was supposed to be held to less than 8 percent by the stimulus bill, but a year and a half after the measure's passage, joblessness is above 9.5 percent. Michigan's unemployment rate is at 13.2 percent, with a loss of 400,000 jobs since the beginning of 2008.
So it would make little sense to address the unemployment problem by increasing the cost of producing many of our goods and services. Yet that would be the effect of the Obama administration's proposed $80 billion tax increase on the oil and natural gas industry over the next decade.
Elementary economics tells us that if the marginal cost of production is increased, supply is reduced, resulting in decreased output and higher prices. In this case, the tax increases will result in less oil production in the United States, and increased costs of shipping and transporting oil from other countries. An additional $80 billion in taxes on oil and gas must result in an increase in the price of oil and gas, along with reduced employment in the industry and also in ancillary industries.
Despite the very large incentives that taxpayers have given to renewable resources, the U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that four-fifths of our energy needs will come from fossil fuels in 2030. It clearly is not possible that the reduced employment in the oil and gas industry can even in small part be made up by increased employment in such areas as wind turbines and solar photovoltaics.
This, however, is but the tip of the iceberg. Since oil is an input into the production of such disparate industries as fertilizer, plastic syringes, synthetic fibers, and detergents, there will be an increased cost in the production of these goods, resulting in a reduction in employment in each of these industries. In addition, the cost of delivering the mail, flowers, packages, packaged goods -- everything that is shipped by road or by rail, will also increase, affecting employment.
The 19th-century political economist, Fredric Bastiat wrote that the difference between a good economist and a bad economist is that the bad economist sees the "seen," but the good economist sees the "unforeseen."
In other words, the good economist is aware of the unintended consequences of a policy action.
If we follow the unintended consequences of this tax further we notice that millions of Americans own stock in oil companies directly through 410(k)s, or because they are owners of mutual funds that own oil company stocks, or indirectly through the ownership of these stocks by their pension funds. These Americans will all see a decline in their wealth as the return to holding oil company stocks falls.
But the consequences do not stop there.
Suppose your pension fund holds stock in FedEx. The increase in the price of oil due to the tax will increase the price of gasoline and jet fuel, driving up costs of FedEx, reducing its earnings, lowering the value of the stock, and reducing the assets of your pension fund. It is important that Congress understands that voting for this tax is a vote for the unintended consequences of the tax as well.
We should also understand that companies in the oil and gas industry already pay about half of their earnings in taxes, nearly double the tax rate of the rest of the Standard and Poor's Industrials -- 48 percent to 28 percent.
So, rather than equalizing the tax burden across industries as some have claimed, the oil tax would further exacerbate the tax differential that already exists.
In the Sherlock Holmes story, "A Scandal in Bohemia," Sherlock admonishes Watson: "The problem with you Watson is you see but you do not observe."
Whether Congress enacts a tax on oil and gas production depends upon whether your congressmen and senators follow Holmes's advice or act like Watson. Those who think they are merely taxing oil companies are like Watson -- failing to observe that the jobs of many Michigan workers will be sacrificed though the unintended consequences of their actions.
© Copyright 2010 The Detroit News. All rights reserved.