December 2005 Archives

PR Web is one of those press-release services that I keep wondering whether I should stay subscribed to. Its RSS feed setup is at least as good as PR Newswire's but as a free service, there is no entry barrier to posting stuff out - just as long as you are capable of using a web form. Although it's good have such a free service - nobody need be denied the ability to get their releases distributed to anyone who wants them - you have to wonder whether charging for distribution would make the service's users think a bit more about what they want to say. The net effect is that even in an environment where there is generally more bottom than barrel, PR Web is the least useful press-release service. You can be hard pressed to find a signal amid the noise, to the point that in my Netnewswire setup it does not even feature in the main PR folder.

Then, once in a while a real gem pops up that makes it at least entertaining. Take this nugget, Source of the Gravity of the Earth has been Discovered:

"Nuclear scientist Mehran Keshe says a double magnetic field provokes gravitational effects in stars and planets, like Earth. Earths center contains a small sphere filled with hydrogen, acting like a semi-fusion plasma reactor. Inside currents create a basic magnetic field which is super-imposed by the already known magnetic field of the iron core. Such double field can be replicated in man-made plasma reactors, to be used as energy and anti-gravity system in space and air crafts, but also in cars, household products and electronics which will have independent long-lasting energy generated by micro plasma reactors. [PRWEB Dec 16, 2005]"

Funny, I thought elves were responsible for gravity. My mistake.

I am a snark-filled reporter so I could not help but write about a recent Dave Winer post. I'm beginning to wonder whether the man behind OPML is planning one of those "Who Moved My Cheese" style self-help business books that use slightly skewed views of a situation to provide apparently dazzling insights into problems that are more readily and easily explained by conventional wisdom.

Winer explains patiently to the simple reader that, with "Internet 3", the key to making money on the Internet is to send people away from your site. They will often come back, he argues. He cites Google and Yahoo's news aggregation service as examples of pages that are designed to send people to other sites and that they make money by doing this. That is true, but the key is not that they send people away, simply that people come back because what they offer is more useful than other sites.

In the case of Yahoo's news aggregation, it is easier to go there to follow two or more media news feeds than to surf each individually. In short, things that are useful tend to make money. Because of this, we can expect RSS-based aggregators to supplant Yahoo's current generation of news aggregation service. However, judging by recent acquisitions, Yahoo appears to have sussed out where the next batch of cheese is coming from.

For my next trick, I'll explain how to make money by buying low and selling high.

When you land at most airports, being early is generally a good thing. That does not seem to be the case at Heathrow where it seems to lead to instant banishment to one of the few remote stands that the airport has. You would think, given the amount of time most aircraft have to stack over London to get close to the airport, ticker tape and bunting would drop out of the overhead bins at touchdown any time the pilot managed to sneak in early.

However, even on a Saturday morning, Terminal 4 is busy, busy, busy. So, after a long wait on the taxiway, the pilot announced that BA292 from Washington Dulles had drawn the short straw and was to be parked somewhere close to the perimeter fence and not very close to Terminal 4. The problem is that, even at the best of times, Heathrow is not good at dealing with remote stands. It's not like Frankfurt, or indeed Dulles, where you can expect a convoy of buses to be parked alongside pretty soon after you get there. At Heathrow, you can wait a long, long time for anybody to notice that somebody has parked a plane.