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I live in White Rock Hills

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My neighborhood (actually mine and several others) finally has a name: White Rock Hills.

This is the product of a naming contest put on by the Ferguson Road Initiative. It was unveiled at a celebration this afternoon, where we also saw plans for a major rec center (>65,000 square feet) that is proposed to take the place of some run-down apartments that were once a haven for drugs and prostitution.

Very cool.

It was also neat to see our logo on sponsorship swag for the first time.

Anne Orren (1939-2005)

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My (only) Aunt, Anne Orren, was a remarkable lady. She was smart as a whip; had a wicked-dry sense of humor; and always came to mine and my parents’ rescue, even when we certainly didn’t deserve it. I also suspect that at least some of my resistance to authority tempered with an ability to work the system came straight from her.

She also, in her own way, understood the importance of the hyperlocal communities we’re seeking to connect — she was more deeply rooted into her community than anyone I’ve ever seen. And she took her convictions to the most local level — helping individuals change their lives through education.

Anne died this week after a short bout with cancer. She was feisty to the last. I already miss her.

Ever the pragmatist, she wrote her own obituary six weeks ago so that the rest of us wouldn’t screw it up:

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Getting responsibilities straight

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Jeff Jarvis thinks that aggregators like Yahoo, Google, Pluck, Newsgator, etc. should be responsible for letting publishers of RSS feeds know how many times those cached feeds are read. He offers a "fundamental principle":

I have a right to know when what I create is read, heard, viewed, or used if I wish to know that.

Although it rarely happens, this is one of those cases where I absolutely disagree with him.

This is an exemplar of one of those Web 2.0 mentalities that drives me batty — There’s an idea that in the new new world of free media that everyone is supposed to behave in an idealistic manner, even if there is no business reason to do so.

Does an aggregator have the right to scrape your non-RSS page and run it on their site? No.

But when you publish a feed, you relinquish control. If you don’t like what others do with that feed, cut the feed, or alter the feed so that it behaves how you want it to behave.

Jeff uses the following analogy:

Do newsstands refuse to tell you how many copies of your publication
they sell? Do they cut out pages and give you only covers? No. Online
distributors should operate by similar rules of the road.

There’s a major difference here. Newsstand distributors report such data only because there is a financial transaction that depends on its accuracy. They are selling content to the end user, and are in almost no way a part of the advertising business, which is where the aggregators are (or are trying to get).

A more accurate analogy is that asking an aggregator to provide such feed data is tantamount to asking a library to report every time someone checks out your book.

That’s not to say that technology can’t enable such a report. Jeff makes a perfectly reasonable suggestion that the aggregators let content providers set permissions on their feeds. I think they’d be smart to do so, but they have no obligation.

The responsibility lies with the feed creator, companies like Typepad, or perhaps with companies like Dallas-based SyndicateIQ (who is working on these problems).

It’s tempting to assign responsibility to companies just because they’re trading north of $400 a share– but all of the magic of Web 2.0 doesn’t create completely new sets of de facto rules, whomever is making them.

Things to do this Saturday (part 2)

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Our partners at TexasGigs are putting on a heckuva a show at The Cavern on Saturday.

TexasGigs.com along with This is Texas Music  and SpunePresents a Fa-La-La-La-La Musical Extravaganza
Where:The Cavern
When: – Saturday, December 3rd – 8 PM
Who:The Gene Pool (Austin) / Black Water Gospel (Austin) / Thrift Store Cowboys / Spitfire Tumbleweeds
Cover: – $6.00

We’ll be in the house, and the proceedings will be podcast.

Things to do this Saturday (part 1)

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Longtime readers know that one of the key stops on my road to the Damascus of wedia was learning about the Ferguson Road Initiative (FRI), which had (to date) never been covered in the local mainstream media and was/is making a huge difference in the quality of my neighborhood.

FRI is having a big celebration where a new name for this collection of neighborhoods will be unveiled:

It’s the new name for the hottest area in town!  Wanna be the first kid on your block to learn what the new community name is?  Then you’ve simply gotta, gotta, gotta come to the December 3rd Name Our Community celebration.  It all starts at 10 am at the Dallas Central Church of the Nazarene (7979 E. R.L. Thornton Freeway). The new name will give our area the identity we need and deserve.

The Jacobs Group, who has been working with FRI and the City of Dallas on a streetscape/infrastructure plan for Ferguson Road between I-30 and Lakeland, will present the final plan at the meeting. The plan will include such things as special intersection designs, community gateways, sidewalks, and landscaping.   This will be a major factor in making our community a special place to live, work and shop. 

Members of FRI will be treated to special T-shirts and lunch from Carraba’s Italian Grill in Lakewood.  If you are not a member yet, you can fill out the form below and bring it to the celebration and be eligible for lunch and the T-Shirt.  That’s right, for as little as 12 bucks, you get a great lunch, a nice T-shirt, and you help FRI help your community!  What a deal!

Whether you are a member or not, you are welcome to come and learn the new name, plans for Ferguson Road, and more about what FRI is doing to make our area special.

We’re a minor sponsor of the event, in recognition of FRI’s role in the thinking behind our business plan.

The long tail and free music

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As we’re pulling together the new Texas Gigs/Pegasus News music site, we’ve been seeking file uploads/permissions to run music from local bands.

Most bands are jumping on the opportunity to have their music streamed in our radio stations and downloadable by our users. However, some have the traditional trepidation about giving away a song or three for free, fearing lost CD sales.

Today, Chris Anderson points to a Harvard Study that quantifies what anecdotal evidence has long suggested: Unless you’re a top-selling superstar today (we know you’ll get there eventually), you’re better off to put your music out there for free.

The study even provides a nice benchmark: Unless you sold more than 3,000 copies of your last CD, protecting your music from file-swapping is likely to depress your sales.

(For newcomers to our site, here’s the beginning of our Long Tail discussion — particularly relevant for indie bands.)

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