43 posts categorized "Internet"

The Ongoing Twitter Migration is a Reminder That on the Internet, There Are No Permanent Favorites

Text: on the Internet, there are no permanent favorites

The ongoing Twitter migration highlights one of the characteristics of the Internet that colleagues wrote about back in 2012 in what they called the “Internet Invariants”:

There are no permanent favorites.

We remember MySpace. AltaVista. Friendster. And SO MANY others..

In their moment, they seemed THE place to be.

And then suddenly they weren’t.

Twitter will fade, as will Facebook/Meta, and all the others.

New things will emerge. In time, they, too, will fade.

The cycle continues.


[Originally shared on Mastodon - https://mastodon.social/@danyork/109347347499021562 ]

Returning to POSSE - Writing on my own site, THEN on Facebook, Twitter, etc

Sheriff posse flickr tom kelly

Over the past few weeks as I’ve been grappling with colon cancer, it has been soooooooooo tempting to just pop open the Facebook app, write a story in the box and press “Share”.

Simple. Easy. Done!

Or inside the Twitter app… or LinkedIn… or… or...

But here’s the problem with that...

All the stories get LOCKED INSIDE A PLATFORM!

They are there living on the platform’s servers, inside the platform’s systems.  Maybe they are visible publicly, maybe they aren’t.  Maybe they will be around in two years, maybe they won’t.  Maybe people will find them, maybe they won’t.

The future of your stories is entirely at the whim of the platform.

As I wrote about on the Internet Society’s blog earlier this year, one of my own guiding principles is “POSSE“, a content publishing model from the “IndieWeb” movement:

Publish on your

And so over these past few weeks, I tried really hard to do that with my journey through cancer: the diagnosis, followed by the recovery, followed by the results.

But it’s HARD. It was so insanely tempting yesterday when I got the great news just to pop open Facebook and share it with everyone.

But when I do that… it’s shared ONLY within Facebook’s shiny “walled garden”. It’s not shared with people I know who choose NOT to use Facebook. It’s not shared with the communities I’m in on other social networks.

The “open Web” on top of the “open Internet” is really the only way to do that. But it’s hard. There’s extra steps involved for me right now with the way my various blogs are set up.  I want to work to make that easier and simpler… but doing so will take time… which is challenging to find.

But if we don’t find ways to OWN OUR OWN STORIES then they will stay locked away in closed, proprietary walled gardens.  And maybe that’s fine for some of those stories. Maybe they are small and mundane… “in the moment” stories that we don’t really care about. But even so, we feed the platforms. We help them to grow.

 I’ll keep trying to follow the POSSE rule… and I’ll be writing more here about that.

Image credit: Tom Kelly on Flickr CC BY NC ND

Do Facebook Instant Articles Support The Open Web... or Facebook's Walled Garden?

Facebook instant articles

Will Facebook's impending opening up of its "Instant Articles" on April 12 to ALL publishers of content help the "open web"? Or will it just keep more people inside of Facebook's shiny walled garden?

As Facebook's launch announcement says in part:

We built Instant Articles to solve a specific problem—slow loading times on the mobile web created a problematic experience for people reading news on their phones. This is a problem that impacts publishers of all sizes, especially those with audiences where low connectivity is an issue.


Facebook’s goal is to connect people to the stories, posts, videos or photos that matter most to them. Opening up Instant Articles will allow any publisher to tell great stories, that load quickly, to people all over the world. With Instant Articles, they can do this while retaining control over the experience, their ads and their data.

It sounds great on many levels and blogging pioneer Dave Winer has written passionately about "How Instant Articles helps the open web" (also published on Medium). He went on to document his Instant Articles (IA) feed and to talk about how his blog posts now automagically stream out to Facebook Instant Articles along with other services: Oh the places this post will go!

The beautiful part about Instant Articles is that it is based on good old RSS feeds ... and so with a few additions to the markup of your RSS feed you could be ready to go technically to start publishing Instant Articles. (There are a number of other steps you need to do, though.) Even better, and a point Dave definitely makes, Facebook Instant Articles will update when you make changes to your original text - something that doesn't happen with services (such as Medium) where you can syndicate your articles after you write them... but they don't update.

As Dave notes in "How IA happened from my point of view" by quoting me (in my comment left on Medium), I think this a great step in allowing publishers to easily get their content into Facebook's Instant Articles. My quote said:

"I have expected that Facebook would be focused on keeping everyone inside their shiny walled garden and thought I understood that Instant Articles involved putting your content on FB’s servers… which I now understand it *does*, but via caching of an RSS feed. Which is VERY cool!"

In my previous quick reading about Instant Articles, I had understood that it involved publishers loading their content onto Facebook's servers - and so I thought that we who publish would be forced to load our content onto FB's servers separate from our own websites.

In other words, I thought we would need to publish twice.

This, to me, would NOT support the "open web" that exists outside the big walled gardens of content that we are seeing now evolving.

I thank Dave for helping me understand that Facebook very nicely chose to base IA on the consumption of RSS feeds. This allows us as publishers to create our content once and syndicate it out to Facebook Instant Articles.

This is good and very much in line with the IndieWeb thinking around "POSSE - Publish (on your) Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere" that I very much believe in. I applaud Facebook for making it so easy for content publishers to make our content available as Instant Articles.


Is the existence of Instant Articles good for the open web?

Right now, when I post a link in Facebook to an article on one of my sites:

when people follow that link they view the article on MY site.

On MY web server, running somewhere out on the distributed, de-centralized and "open" web.

(Which, yes, is increasingly getting centralized in terms of content hosting providers, but let's leave that for a separate article. The point is that I currently do have multiple choices for where I host that content.)

People can interact with my site, see my content there, potentially leave comments there on the site, etc.

My site, and the content on that site, is not dependent on Facebook.

The key point about viewing Instant Articles is:

Reading "Instant Articles" keeps you ENTIRELY within Facebook's walled garden.

You read the Instant Articles inside of your Facbook mobile app. You comment and interact with the article inside of Facebook's app.

All the interaction happens within Facebook's mobile app.

Yes, as a publisher I can get analytics about my content, including via other services such as Google Analytics.

And yes, all the Instant Articles content is pulled in from my website out on the "open web". But while that content is pulled in using "open protocols",

the content is cached (stored) on Facebook's servers and made available through Facebook's own networks.

Over time publishers might start to ask:

Why not simply publish everything DIRECTLY inside of Facebook?

With Instant Articles, Facebook is already serving out my content from their servers... why don't I simplify my workflow even more by just publishing all my content natively inside of Facebook?

And if I were Facebook that would be what I would ultimately want. Even more content exclusively inside MY walled garden that would keep people staying inside those shiny walls.

Yes, User Experience Matters

Having said all of this, I do understand WHY Facebook is doing this beyond the obvious desire to keep people in their walled garden:

The mobile user experience of reading/viewing content has a HUGE need for improvement!

Even with the push by Google and many others to make the web "mobile-friendly" there is still a huge amount of room for improvement.

We need to speed up the "mobile web" and to improve the user experience.

Facebook is trying to do this with Instant Articles. Google is trying to do this with "Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)", which I'll be soon writing an article about. Apple would like to do this with Apple News.

All of those efforts, though, do speed up the mobile web ... but only for users of specific apps / browsers / etc.. Each of the efforts creates a better mobile user experience, but within their own walled gardens.

And I do understand that from Facebook's point of view the mobile user experience isn't as seamless as it could be when people are in the Facebook app and then follow a link out to a completely different look-and-feel and a completely different user experience.

It can be jarring. And it may not work all that well.

Instant Articles will bring a significantly better user experience to users of the Facebook mobile apps.

As a user of those Facebook apps, I can see that being a good thing. Admittedly I sometimes do not follow links I see in my NewsFeed because I know from experience that the site linked to loads slowly and I don't have time at that moment to wait to view that article. I want to see it NOW.

But is the price of a better user experience worth the continued centralization of content within large walled gardens?

And will anyone really care... as long as they can read their article as fast as possible?

Will I Publish Through Facebook Instant Articles?

Of course!

I'm not stupid! The reality is that right now a huge amount of the audience I want to reach is within Facebook's shiny walled garden - and uses Facebook's NewsFeed as a primary way of getting much of their content. I am there myself and do get a large number of links that I visit on a daily basis through what I see in my Facebook NewsFeed.

Like Dave Winer already does, I'm working to see what I can do to make at least a few of my sites accessible via Instant Articles by the April 12 launch. (For instance, I see WordPress plugins for IA already emerging and FB themselves provides some guidance for content management systems.)

I'll do it because my end goal is to get my content seen by the people who I want to reach.

And right now, Facebook is the way that so many people consume content.

I have to go where the conversation is happening.

Do I worry, though, about the long-term effects this may have on the "open web"?


And I think you should, too.

We Need An Open Internet

We need an "open web" ... and a far larger "open Internet" ... where we don't have to ask permission to communicate, connect, collaborate and create (what many of us call "permissionless innovation").

The centralization of content, both in terms of publishing of content and consumption of content, is a very worrisome trend.

Huge, centralized walled gardens such as Facebook today can make Instant Articles "open to everyone" ... but tomorrow they could start to play much more of the "gatekeeper" role, determining:

  • precisely "who" gets to publish content to the Facebook audience (which they are already doing in a way through the process of applying for Instant Article access);
  • whether that content gets to be seen by all Facebook users (which they are already doing with the NewsFeed algorithm and could do even more now that Facebook Reactions are out);
  • whether that content gets to be seen for free - or for a price (which they are already doing with the NewsFeed algorithm for displaying Pages content and letting you "boost" content).

Yes, I'll publish through Facebook Instant Articles (assuming my feeds get approved) because it will help Facebook users more easily view my content.

And I'm glad that Facebook chose to use RSS as the base to allow us to easily publish our content as Instant Articles without having to create a separate mechanism for publishing to Facebook.

I just worry that in then end this will only help keep more people inside of Facebook's shiny and pretty walled garden ... versus interacting with the many other sites and services that make up the larger open Internet.

What do you think?

Will you start publishing your content as Facebook Instant Articles? Do you think that we as content providers have much of a choice if we want to reach people on Facebook? What do you think this will do long-term?

An audio podcast about Facebook Instant Articles is also available:

UPDATE #1 - In a bit of synchronicity, Dave Winer published a new post - Who should support IA and how - at about the same time as I posted mine. He suggests that IA should be used as essentially the improved plumbing to make the mobile user experience better across different platforms and walled gardens. I don't disagree.. but I wonder how many of the other walled gardens (ex. Twitter, Medium) would actually support Facebook's protocol. (Sounds like a topic for another blog post...)

Outrage On Internet Over Lion-Killing Shuts Down Dentist's Website And Office, Hammers Him on Yelp, more...

Www flickr com photos psg3 14429454372

There's a communications crisis happening right now on the Internet that should be of interest to anyone involved in PR / marketing / communications. As you are by now probably aware, a Minnesota dentist apparently paid $55,000 to go big game hunting in Zimbabwe and wound up killing a lion named "Cecil" that was popular with locals and tourists. The dentist admitted that he killed the lion and issued a statement expressing his regret.

The outcry globally has been extremely fierce. Consider this:

  • the Yelp page for the dentistry practice is full of all sorts of negative reviews.
  • the company's website was sluggish earlier yesterday (July 29) and has been completely offline since mid-day yesterday.
  • the company's Facebook page seems to have been taken down (perhaps by the company itself?)
  • videos from the company on YouTube are being slammed full of negative comments.

And a great amount of venom has been spewed at the dentist and his company in many other forums all across the Internet. (Ex. over 6,300 comments in a Reddit thread!) As a result, the dentist has now closed his office, putting his staff out of work and referring all his patients to other nearby dentists. Protests are happening at his office - and all over the Internet.

It seems like the company is trying to react on Twitter:

but I am admittedly a bit suspicious because:

  1. The Twitter account misspells "Bluff" with only one F.
  2. The Twitter account seems to have no tweets before yesterday and has only 59 tweets (at the time I write this).

However, I thought I got to that Twitter account from the dentist office's website when I could still get there after first learning about this story yesterday morning. And the account is tweeting out positive things about the company. Which makes me think it is real...

Either way, we are currently seeing a serious level of retribution for this action.

While I personally can't understand why someone would go and kill a lion - and do understand the outrage felt by so many, I do wonder about the scale of the retribution directed at this dentist.

From my own experiences with dentist offices, they typically do involve a number of different people who just work there. All of those employees (plus the patients) - who had nothing to do with the killing of the lion - are affected by the actions of the outraged people across the Internet who are shutting down this business.

As communicators, are you ready for something like this?

If the actions of an employee, or owner in this case, were to generate this level of outrage on the Internet, do you have a plan to cope with it?

And can you implement that plan on Internet speed?

Realizing, of course, that there are very few ways to know if you'd be truly ready to cope, but there are things you can do both technically (ex. have a CDN in front of your website) and from a process point of view (ex. have a plan!).

As Christopher Penn said today in a post inside of Facebook "Mob rule is scary." Indeed it is.

What would you do if your company or organization found itself in the cross-hairs of global outrage?

P.S. You can discuss this in the FIR Podcast Community on Google+.

Photo credit: a cropped version of this photo from Peter Glenday on Flickr. (I don't actually know that it is "Cecil" outside of the fact that it is tagged with that name and was taken in Zimbabwe.)

The Live Video Streaming Nightmare: What Do You Do When YouTube Won't Start? (And Lessons Learned)

What do you do if you go to start live video streaming of an event - and the streaming service you use won't start??? How do let people waiting to watch know? How do you fall back to another service?

Last month at the IETF 90 meeting in Toronto I experienced this nightmare of anyone doing live video streaming across the Internet. We had a presentation at noon on Thursday that we had widely publicized in social media and via email. The cameras were all set up. The producer was all ready to do the switching and encoding out to YouTube. Everything was good to go.

Then at 11:45am, I went to do my part in the process. I needed to login to the IETF YouTube account and basically click the "Start Streaming" button inside the "live event". At that point the YouTube servers would accept the encoded stream from the producer's gear and the stream would go live.

BUT... instead I got this message in a bright red bar across the top:

Ytl maintenance 500 The message read:

YouTube live is undergoing maintenance. Events cannot be created, started or stopped. Events already started will continue to stream uninterrupted.

Yes... we had no way to START the live video stream!

Over the next few minutes I kept refreshing that page but the warning stayed up there. I was getting rather nervous as the launch time approached!

Now, as it happened, we had already planned to have a second live video steam going out for the event through a different service, Livestream.com, for a different reason.

Why The IETF Uses YouTube For Live Video Streaming

To explain a bit more, we have been using Google's YouTube live video streaming for some of the larger IETF plenary sessions for five reasons:

1. The live video stream is available over both IPv4 and IPv6.

2. The stream works easily across pretty much all desktop and mobile devices.

3. Google's live streaming infrastructure seems able to scale to whatever capacity is needed.

4. The recording of the stream is immediately available after the event in the IETF's YouTube channel.

5. There is no cost for using the service beyond our local costs to produce the content (and no infrastructure that the IETF itself has to maintain).

Of these, really the most critical reason for using YouTube live streaming is the first - that it streams out over IPv6.

The IETF is the organization behind the IPv6 specification and has declared that all new IETF standards need to incorporate IPv6. Therefore in the spirit of "eating your own dog food" the IETF tries to use services that work over IPv6 whenever possible. Other live video streaming services have met the reasons 2-5 above, but not the #1 reason of working over IPv6.

We have specifically been using what Google used to call "YouTube Live" but now seems to just be calling "YouTube live events" versus Google's newer "Hangouts On Air (HOA)". These YouTube live events are events you schedule in advance and can use with advanced video encoders. An advantage is that these events provide streaming configuration info that I can provide in advance to the company running the audio and video at the event so that they can be prepared in advance. YouTube also helpfully provides a countdown timer for people visiting the event page. We haven't switched to using HOAs because they haven't yet provided the advance configuration information we want.

Anyway it has all worked well for live streaming out plenary sessions for a couple of years now.

Google Doesn't Live Stream Into Germany

However, as we discovered again that week.... Google will not stream live video into Germany! It seems Google has a legal dispute with a German intellectual property rights organization (GEMA) and Google has decided that rather than run into trouble with GEMA they will simply NOT allow live streaming into Germany.

So, alerted to this issue by some IETF remote participants in Germany who were unable to watch the live video streams of the technical plenary earlier in the week, we had arranged to also stream this Thursday session out over the Internet Society's Livestream.com account. Now, unfortunately it would not be available over IPv6 because Livestream.com still only works on legacy IPv4 networks, but Livestream.com did not have the streaming restrictions Google had and so at least people could view the stream in Germany. As a bonus, all the "subscribers" to the Internet Society's Livestream.com channel would also get notified and potentially be able to watch the stream - but the primary reason was so that people in Germany could watch the video stream.

The great thing about IETF meetings is that a massive amount of Internet connectivity is brought into the meeting hotel (because you have 1,200+ engineers who do most of their work across the Internet!) and so there are NO bandwidth problems for streaming. We could probably stream out to a dozen different live streaming services simultaneously if we set up our local software/equipment to do so.

Making The Alternate Stream The Primary Stream

The good news for us was that this "alternative" live video stream set up purely for viewers in Germany could now become the primary video stream. I rapidly updated the Google+ "event page" for this session to note the new URL for streaming and we spread the word through IETF social media channels and email lists. It wasn't 100% seamless but we were able to get people watching the live video stream.

We were also able to direct people to some of the other IETF remote meeting participation mechanisms, including audio streaming and a conferencing system called "Meetecho" that streamed the slides and lower webcam-quality video.

Throughout the hour-long event I kept checking the Live Control Room inside of YouTube to see if we could start the original stream, but we were never able to do so. A couple of times the red warning box went away, but we could not establish a connection from YouTube's streaming service to our equipment on the ground there in Toronto. Finally, as the time went on it became clear that the connection wasn't going to happen and so I just gave up trying.

The good news is that the producer was also making a local copy of the stream that we would be able to upload later to the IETF's YouTube channel.

Lessons Learned

I took away from this experience three primary lessons for all future live streaming sessions. Do note, too, that I think of these as generic lessons for all live streaming services and events. It happens that this time the failure was with Google's YouTube live events service, but the failure could have been with Livestream.com, Google's Hangouts On Air, Ustream or any of the many other live video streaming services out there.

1. Always Promote An Event Page Separate From The Streaming Service

We were able to rapidly redirect people to the new location of the live video stream in large part because we had been promoting the Google+ event page as the place to go to watch the live stream. We had promoted this on the IETF's Twitter account, Facebook page, Google+ page and also over various IETF email lists and on various other websites. All the promotion pointed people to this page.

So the good news was that all we had to do was update this page with the new info and people could switch over to watch the new stream.

We had NOT been promoting the direct YouTube link for the stream. Had we done so, we could have still updated the page through editing the description of the YouTube video and/or leaving comments - but it would not have necessarily been as easy for visitors to see.

Promoting a separate page was a deliberate choice I made based on some previous bad experiences with live streaming where I had to stop a streaming session and restart with a brand new URL. For that reason I've been promoting a separate page.

In fact, for the IETF Plenary sessions, we've been promoting a separate page under IETF control on the IETF website - http://www.ietf.org/live/ - where we can embed the live stream video and also keep the page updated. At the IETF meeting it is possible for me or someone else to easily go in and update that page. Plus it is a very simple URL that we can promote widely.

I don't honestly remember why we didn't use the www.ietf.org/live/ page to stream out this Thursday morning sponsor presentation other than that the decision to live stream the session happened the day before and for whatever reason we went with a Google+ Event page as the page to promote.

Next time we'll probably promote the www.ietf.org/live/ page.

The key point is that you have a page separate from the live streaming service where you can post updates.

2. Have An Alternate Live Stream Either Active Or Ready To Go

As I mentioned previously, in this case we happened to be set up with a second live stream out through Livestream.com purely because we wanted to test the live streaming into Germany. Had remote IETF participants in Germany not asked about this after being unable to view the earlier technical plenary, we wouldn't have had this second stream active.

Next time, we will have a second live streaming service either active or at least on standby ready to go.

At the IETF meetings, we have the luxury of having an insane amount of bandwidth and so there are not the typical connectivity constraints you find in meeting venues. The software and equipment our producer was using could go out to multiple live streaming services. There is really no reason we can't run multiple streams.

For the IETF we still have the IPv6 requirement, which unfortunately Livestream.com does not yet meet. However, it occurred to us after the session that we could have streamed to a Google+ Hangout On Air (HOA) as that would have also streamed out over IPv6 in addition to IPv4. Of course, that would mean relying on two Google services and so you run the risk of having the technical issues affecting one live streaming service also affecting the other - plus there was the whole "streaming into Germany" thing.

We'll definitely keep investigating what other live streaming services may work over IPv6. There are a good number of live video streaming services out there and the number seems to be growing. The company producing the video stream for us also had their own streaming server that we might be able to use as a backup, too. And, yes, we can also have an IPv4-only streaming service available if everything else falls through.

Now, in non-IETF environments where I do have to worry about bandwidth constraints, I will at least have a plan for how I can rapidly spin up a second stream if the first one fails. That's really the key point. What is Plan B and how fast can you make it happen?

3. Have Access To Relevant Social Media Accounts And Other Methods Of Letting People Know

This is perhaps a subset of Lesson #1, but another critical part of our success in redirecting people to the second live stream was that we had access to the relevant social media accounts and other means of spreading the word. I had access to the IETF Google+ page and could make the updates there. Someone else was able to send out a tweet with the new link to the live stream. An email was sent out to all attendees and to other relevant email lists letting them know about the link.

The key point is that when we updated the event page with the new information, we could let people know!

In The End...

... the session was streamed live across the Internet. It was recorded and made available for later viewing. And... we learned a few lessons to make sure our live streaming infrastructure is more resilient next time so that this potential "nightmare" becomes nothing more than just a minor bump and redirection.

What about you? If you do live video streaming what steps have you taken to ensure you can keep streaming in cases like this?

I also recorded an audio commentary about this situation:

If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either:

What Is A TLD? gTLD? ccTLD? newgTLD? IDN?

What is a "TLD"? How does a "gTLD" differ from a "ccTLD"? And what is a "newgTLD" all about? These are some of the questions I've encountered as I've been talking to people both in person and via the FIR podcast about the "newgTLD" program that is bringing hundreds of new top-level domains into the domain name system (DNS). To have an article I can point to, here are the basic things you need to know (and ICANN regulars will realize I am glossing over some of the nuances... but I'm trying to provide a simple view):
TLD = Top-Level Domain

Whenever you use a domain name, in a web address(URL), email address, or wherever, it ends in a "top-level domain" or "TLD". This is the last part of the name. We often thing of .COM, .ORG, .NET, etc., as in:

  • www.disruptiveconversations.COM
  • www.forimmediaterelease.BIZ
  • internetsociety.ORG

(I've capitalized and made the TLDs bold here, but in the DNS case doesn't matter.)

TLDs are broadly classified into two categories:

  1. generic top-level domains (gTLDs)
  2. country code top-level domains (ccTLDs)

The entity responsible for the administration of these TLDs in the "root" of the Domain Name System (DNS) is the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) that is currently operated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). You can see the full list of current TLDs at:

Second-Level Domain

The next part of the domain name to the left of the TLD (and separated by a dot) is the "second-level domain". These are the domains that you are typically able to register with a registrar. Examples include:

  • www.disruptiveconversations.com
  • www.forimmediaterelease.biz
  • internetsociety.org

The next part of the domain name to the left ("www" in the first two examples above) would be called the "third-level domain", and so on.

gTLD = Generic Top-Level Domain

Generic top-level domains (gTLDs) are TLDs that are not tied to any specific country and are "generic" in terms of being able to be used (in theory, anyway) by anyone on the Internet anywhere in the world. The "original" TLDs such as .COM, .ORG, .NET, .GOV, .MIL are all classifed as "generic TLDs"[1]. There were a couple of rounds of "expansion" of the gTLDs that brought the total to 22 gTLDs prior to the "newgTLD" expansion currently underway

ccTLD = Country Code Top-Level Domain

Country code top-level domains(ccTLDs) are two letter TLDs that are assigned to countries based mostly on the ISOC 3166 list of country codes. Some countries have chosen to operate their ccTLD exclusively for domains within their country or geographic territory. Some do not allow people to register "second-level domains" under the TLD and instead require people to register third-level domains under one of several different second-level domains. For example, the .UK domain as to date required registrations to be under domains such as ".co.uk" and ".org.uk", basically duplicating part of the original gTLD scheme inside their ccTLD.

Many ccTLDs have chosen NOT to restrict their ccTLD to people in their country and have in fact marketed their domains very widely encouraging everyone to use them. Some prominent examples of this include Colombia(.CO), Montenegro(.ME), Tuvulu(.TV), Federated States of Micronesia(.FM) and many more.

Essentially, any time you are using a two-letter TLD, it is a ccTLD for some country. (With a few exceptions.)

newgTLD = Top-Level Domain

After many years of discussion, ICANN's board voted in 2011 to allow the creation of new generic TLDs using almost any text string (and in multiple character sets) and began the "newgTLD" program. This resulted in 1,930 applications by various companies to operate new gTLDs. These newgTLDs are now being rolled out in phases and people are able to register second-level domains under many of these domains. More newgTLDs are being made available pretty much every week - and the expansion will continue for many months and years ahead of us. I recently wrote on CircleID about how to keep track of all the newgTLDs.

At a technical level, "new gTLDs" are effectively the same as "gTLDs"... the designation is just really that these new gTLDs are coming out in this current round of expansion.

IDN = Internationalized Domain Name

The original TLDs were all in the ASCII character set, but over time ICANN decided to allow the creation of "internationalized domain names"(IDNs) that use other character sets such as Cyrillic, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, etc. The first IDN for a country code TLD appeared in 2010 and the newgTLDs contain many IDNs. (In fact, the very first of the "newgTLDs" were four IDNs.)

These are the basic terms you will hear for domain names when you are talking about the newgTLD program. There are a host of other issues, topics and discussion points that can be discussed in future posts... but I wanted to get these basic terms out there as a baseline.

Comments are, of course, welcome.

[1] - Some of these "generic" TLDs are now formally classified by ICANN as "sponsored" when the registration of domain names is restricted to a particular type of user. For example, registrations in .GOV are restricted to US government entities and registrations in .MUSEUM are restricted to museums. In these cases there is a sponsoring organization or government who manages the TLD.

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Crossing 300,000 Views Of My CircleID Articles

I was pleased to note recently that the number of views to my various posts on CircleID had crossed over the 300,000 mark and that along the way I'd entered the top 20 contributors to the site in terms of viewed articles. Not that viewer metrics are anything I get very excited about... but it was just kind of cool to see that mark being passed.

As I wrote about back in November 2012 and have also spoken about on past FIR podcast episodes, CircleID is one of the sites that I watch to keep up on what is happening with the infrastructure that powers the Internet, as well as Internet policy issues and, in recent years, the evolution of the "new generic top-level domains (newgTLDs)". I enjoy reading many of the people who write there - and have learned a good bit in the process. There are a lot of contributors to the site (and anyone can sign up to contribute) and so you get to hear many different voices, including some, of course, with whom you may not agree - but that is good and helpful.

Beyond simply visiting the CircleID website, you can follow the site as @circleID on Twitter and via the CircleID Facebook page as well as good old RSS.

I'd highly recommend CircleID for people interested in the evolution of the Internet!

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What Happens When All Communication From A Country Is Disrupted?

What happens when all communications into and out of a country is completely disrupted? We're seeing that right now with Syria. As I wrote on CircleID yesterday, all Internet access is down... and reports say that all communication via cell phones and landlines has also been terminated.

What happens when a country just completely... drops... off...

It's scary, really, to think about. And we're seeing it play out right now. The links are still all down.

My thoughts are definitely with the people there in the country. I hope things are okay... and that the connections get restored soon.

Crazy times...

PSY, MC Hammer, the American Music Awards - and The Amazing Power Of The Internet

Psy hammer 1Seriously? The American Music Awards closing out the evening with a song sung almost entirely in Korean?


Let's just reflect up on that for a moment. The American Music Awards... ending with a song sung...

... in Korean!

A song where the only words that the vast majority of the audience actually understood were "Heyyyyyy, sexy lady!" and "Gangnam Style". (Well, and the overlay of MC Hammer's "Too Legit To Quit" song last night.)

But the rest of the song was entirely in Korean.

How cool is that?

Forget for a moment what you may think about the actual "Gangnam Style" song from PSY and whether you love or absolutely hate the "horse dance" thing he does. Forget about whether you think the whole meme is overdone with everyone and their brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, grandparents and babies (and animals) doing remakes and paradoies of the song. Forget about whether you are so sick of it and hope you never hear about it again.

Forget about all of that.

Think of the moment. Think of the fact that a 40-year-old awards show... again, the American Music Awards... closed its event with a song by a Korean performer sung almost entirely in Korean.


And we see here again the amazing and awesome power of the Internet and how it has fundamentally changed the ways in which we communicate.

Without the Internet, PSY might have been extremely popular within Korea... but probably would have remained almost unknown outside the country.

Instead, because of the Internet his music has been seen and heard 100s of millions of times in basically every part of the world. And here he is is... on stage with MC Hammer closing out this award show.

I love it! Even as I am not personally a particular fan of the song (nor did I watch the awards show)... I delight in the fact that here in the US we celebrated that song.

Score another one for the power of the Internet to unite us all and enable us to experience the creativity that is in all countries and among all people... and in all languages.

Very cool to see!

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Want To Watch Live U.S. Election 2012 Coverage Online Tonight?

VotingTonight we have a truly remarkable number of options for watching coverage of the results of the U.S. election. GigaOm had a great post up this morning listing a wide range of sites:


It's fascinating to look down that list. I grew up in the 1970's and 80's when we really only had 3 TV networks in the US on which to watch election results. Now we have a HUGE number of options. Consider that in this list we have:

  • Multiple sites doing live streaming over YouTube.
  • Multiple sites doing live streaming over Ustream.
  • Some sites doing live streaming from their own sites.
  • Many sites doing streaming out to their mobile apps for iOS and Android.
  • Twitter setting up a micro-site to show election-oriented trends and tweets (and being used by many of the other sites, too, I am sure).

More than that, look at the different sources of these live streams:

  • "Traditional" TV networks such as CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS (with six live streams!), and Fox
  • Newer TV media like C-SPAN, Univision, MSN News, Al Jazeera and the Comedy Channel
  • "Newspapers" streaming video such as the Wall St. Journal, New York Times and Washington Post
  • Newer websites such as Politico and the Huffington Post
  • An independent group watching voting problems

This list, too, is just the sites that GigaOm found and felt should be included. There are probably a hundred other lists floating around on other sites that include other livestreams not mentioned here. Plus the many sites that will be doing "liveblogging"... plus the sites livestreaming audio-only... plus the many mobile apps that people are using on their smartphones... plus the zillion other social networks. Mobile-photo-darling Instagram even got in the game by partnering with NBC to produce: http://electiongrams.com/

And all of these are (generally) available to people all across the world, not just in the US. There is no limit according to geography.

It's an amazing testament to the power of the Internet to disrupt traditional media and to encourage innovation ... and to potentially democratize the creation of content by allowing anyone to get in the business of streaming media.

Wherever you are tonight... as long as you can get Internet connectivity, you will have the ability to watch the US election returns!

I'm looking forward to tonight... and will probably be watching several of these streams as we look forward to learning who wins the election not only for President but also for the Congressional and local races as well.

Enjoy the evening!

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