Warning on bribes

first_imgPolice Commissioner Leslie James on Monday sent a strong warning to members of the public and law enforcement officers who are engaged in collecting bribes – that there is intent to prosecute both parties. To use the Commissioner’s own words “it’s a two way street…once there is no offer, there can’t be acceptance. It goes both sides offer and acceptance and let me warn you civilians, we are coming after you those of you who are offering.” Policemen and women, the world over, are well respected personnel and role models for young people who aspire to contribute positively to the overall development of their communities and its residents.They usually earn the admiration of citizens because of their unique display of honesty, integrity, patience, good temperament, politeness and commitment to maintaining law and order, especially in troubling times and turbulent circumstances. For some, these men and women in uniform stand like superheroes between victims and villains, and the oppressed and their oppressors.In short, Policing is a noble profession and is therefore guided by codified laws and practices which dictate exactly how its members are expected to behave in almost every rational circumstance. It is also governed by high standards and ethics which serve to encourage and motivate its members to become standard bearers as far as morality and public decency are concerned.In the developed world, there is no changing of the goal-posts or standards whenever breaches that warrant sanctions and criminal prosecutions are concerned if a Policeman breaches the law or acts in a hostile manner towards people seeking the assistance of various law agencies.In the Caribbean, the culture is different. In some parts, there is a temptation on the part of the middle management of various Policing units to conceal the excesses of Policemen and women who are accused and in some instances found guilty of breaching the standards, ethics and laws of the profession.As a direct result of their actions, if they go undetected by the top brass of these agencies, a new culture is passed down to their subordinates which embolden and encourage junior ranks to get involved in unscrupulous activities, which in the short and long-term damage the reputation of the entire profession.In Guyana, some Policemen and women are openly engaged in crime and criminality within the divisions that they serve. Others are caught breaching the ethics of their profession accepting bribes, victimising citizens, applying their own version of the law and abusing their positions in order to create additional wealth and sources of income.The situation has reached such a level where the lines between right and wrong are now blurred and there is widespread collusion between ranks at all levels to engage in dishonesty for the right price. Additionally, some law men are even in the habit of verbally abusing members of the public, using expletives and other derogatory language in the presence of their seniors.The image of the force continues to decline because of the indifference and non-action of those in authority. Enough attention is not being paid by the top brass of the force in disciplining ranks who breach the standards and ethics of the profession. There is no reassessment of the entry requirements for the force. There is no emphasis on engineering internal programmes to lift the morale of these lawmen to empower them to cope better in the field.The Public Security Ministry needs to work with the force to advance a modern customer service and public relations programme aimed at strengthening the performance of Police Officers and their interpersonal skills. Also, an advance policy that tackles corruption and collusion in the force must be adumbrated.Modern crime-fighting tactics can only be successful when the public demonstrates higher levels of trust, confidence and respect for Policemen. The criminals are wining in some respect because the public demonstrates indifference in providing information that could infiltrate the criminal enterprise across the country.The public’s attitude will not change unless the Policemen and women carry themselves with higher levels of dignity, respect, integrity, honesty and decency. History will not be kind to the current Top Cop unless he distinguishes himself as the one lawman who managed to set the force on a path to delivering a higher level of service to the Guyanese people.last_img read more


first_img– Geri A. Mellgren-Kerwin Burbank A kiss-up Re: “Lieberman’s qualities” (Your Opinions, Aug. 11): So according to Bill Hamburg, Joe Lieberman is “one of our finest leaders” and he has “integrity, intelligence, a comprehension of world politics and an understanding on how to protect our freedoms.” Now I don’t know who he is watching but the Joe Lieberman I know was not a Democrat but a Republican who does nothing but kiss up to the administration. Congratulations to the people of Connecticut for seeing that. – Erik Weinberger Woodland Hills Broken promises Re: “Veterans fighting for promised gym” (Aug. 11): Once more Dennis McCarthy has spoken out for the veterans and told it like it really is at the Sepulveda VA. It’s shameful that Charles Dormand cannot come through with all the promises of three years ago for the veterans gym. They keep crying poverty, but fail to announce the expenditure of a large amount of funds for some sculptures on the Wadworth Campus that really did nothing for the veterans who are supposed to be taken care of. Add to this the removal of lunches for those volunteers putting in less than six hours of free time and effort. – Adelbert Acevedo Northridge Zine responds Re: “Outsourcing government” (Our Opinions, Aug. 10): I wish to clarify the difference between bureaucracy and responsiveness in government. My motion, requesting an ombudsman to assist those who speak at City Council, is neither ridiculous nor bureaucratic. Anyone attending a council meeting knows there is not sufficient time in public comment to allow a full discussion of issues. In response, I am taking proactive steps toward providing an existing city staffer’s assistance in council chambers to make sure that residents’ concerns have not gone unnoticed or unheard. In no way is this the creation of red tape, or another level of bureaucracy, as the Daily News has misinterpreted. Rather, it is the cutting of red tape and management of resources specifically geared toward assisting constituents – not shuttling them out of chambers, unheard and unhelped. – Dennis P. Zine Councilman City of Los Angeles Panorama City What happened to Panorama City? So many empty tall buildings, empty restaurants and shabby gated apartment buildings. If we don’t do something about this it will spread all over the Valley. What are our high-paid officials doing? Sitting and counting their money? Why doesn’t the mayor do a photo op in Panorama City welcoming tourists to our beautiful Los Angeles? What a disgrace. The officials should take a look at the city of San Fernando. They send out letters to homeowners and tell them to clean their property or it will be done and the homeowner will be charged if they don’t comply. – Marianne Castro Lawson Granada Hills Ethics officer responds Re: “School lobbyist hits pay dirt,” (Aug. 7): LAUSD’s current lobbying policy is considered a model policy and scores an A, according to the Center for Public Integrity (the leading think tank on lobbying disclosure). While it’s true that our former city of L.A.-based policy scored poorly, it does not serve the public interest to imply that the new policy is “lax.” Unlike city and state officials who have a legal requirement to tackle ethics, LAUSD has built our ethics initiative because it’s the right thing to do. Along with a few other notable school districts, our district is a pioneer in making a formal commitment to managing ethics in the K-12 environment. Of course, there’s always room for improvement and we will continue to seek out ways for ethics to take us higher. – Yea-Lan Chiang LAUSD ethics officer Wrong language Re: “Kiss of death” (Your Opinions, Aug. 11): Regarding Sol Taylor’s letter on the Aug. 9 article “Lieberman loses primary race,” I’d like to point out that Taylor’s phrase, “La boche muerta,” is pure gibberish. “Boche” doesn’t exist in Italian and “muerta” is Spanish. The correct phrase is: “Il Bacio della Morte,” I should know, I was born in Italy. – Jason Miranda Levi Northridge Love of art? Re: “’32 mural timelier than ever” (Their Opinions, Aug. 10): L.A. spending $3.75 million to restore a 1932 mural from a “militant Mexican communist” is outrageous. Imagine the outcry if that was spent restoring some Nazi art. Communism caused the death of more than 80 million people through starvation, forced evacuation, prison camps, exterminations, etc., and yet the enlightened Michael Baradi and the oh-so-open-minded Antonio Villaraigosa are excited about restoring this mural. Baradi is actually encouraged that a mural like this “can inspire people to be militant.” As if we needed to encourage militant behavior in Los Angeles. We have some of the most violent schools in the country. Surely there are better uses of taxpayer dollars and better ways to encourage love of art and peace among different cultures. – Carolynn Jones Thousand Oaks Friends and enemies Re: “Seeing the truth” (Your Opinions, Aug. 10): Yes, Alex Bey, the American people see the truth about Israel. When it retreats from Lebanon, that territory is then used as a base for attacking Israel, ditto the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces target those firing at them, and civilians are hit because they are close by, but the terrorists rocket population centers where there is no military target. What you call a double standard is differentiation between friends and enemies. We help those who help us with vital intelligence, vote with us consistently in the U.N., respect our values, emulate our way of life, rejoice with us and grieve with us. – Louis Richter Encino Amplified church Right now the law in Los Angeles exempts churches from noise ordinances. The church near my house put up an amplified sound system that blasts bells, organ music and chimes four times a day every day of the week for sometimes 15 minutes at a time. I asked my councilman, Ed Reyes, to change the law and he said no. I am not against churches, but limits need to be put in place. Quality of life needs to be considered. Most churches will be considerate. However, there are a few that are bad neighbors, so limits need to be put in place for those few. What can I do when the bullhorns go off all day long? And LAPD cannot do a thing about it. How do you like that? – Susan Rocha Los Angeles160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Re: “Brits foil terror plot to blow up U.S.-bound jets” (Aug. 11): The liquid-explosives approach shows the absolute hopelessness of all defensive strategies against terrorists. They study the defenses and adapt to the weaknesses. If we ban all carry-ons, they will carry glass vials of chemicals in body cavities. There are pairs of chemicals that start intense fires when mixed, with no batteries or electronics required. Separators can be gradually eaten away, allowing the terrorist to leave the plane before it burns in midair. The only way to defeat Islamofacism is to systematically index every Jihadist and every donor who ever gave them a dime, and kill them where they live. If we don’t have the will and determination to pursue that strategy for 30 years, we’re going to bleed. – Mike Nowland AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREFrumpy Middle-aged Mom: My realistic 2020 New Year’s resolutions. Some involve doughnuts.Simi Valley Too convenient Re: “Brits foil terror plot to blow up U.S.-bound jets” (Aug. 11): This ridiculous terrorist plot, coming all too conveniently on the heels of the defeat of a pro-war U.S. senator, is clearly designed by the administration to scare Americans back into line behind the pro-war policy. What surprises me is that some people do get scared enough to endure anything “if that’s what it takes to keep us safe.” Don’t people realize that if everybody refused to allow their expensive property to be confiscated, this nonsense would stop? last_img read more

Exploring Standard Bank’s glass-fronted green building

first_imgStandard Bank’s new R2.5-billion building, completed in late 2013, has been given a five-star rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa.Standard Banks new ‘green’ building will house 5 000 of the bank’s staff. (Image: Standard Bank)Lucille DavieYou know you’re the most important person in the building when you’re the only one with a formal office, in an 11-storey, five-star-rated green building.The innovative environment-friendly new Standard Bank building on Baker Street in Rosebank, Johannesburg, is set for full occupation by 5 000 employees at the end of March. Its 65 000 square metres will have only one individual office, for bank chairman Ben Kruger. The rest of the building is entirely open plan, supplemented with dozens of meeting rooms and quiet nooks where staff can gather to discuss business.The R2.5-billion building, completed in late 2013, has been given a five-star rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa. The council is an independent, non-profit company formed in 2007 to lead the greening of South Africa’s built environment. Construction experts work with industry bodies, leaders, government departments and professionals to develop green solutions for the property industry. It is one of 92 members of the World Green Building Council.The council rates the sustainability of buildings according to four, five and six stars. Four stars are for “best practice”, five for “South African excellence”, and a six-star rating for “world leadership”. Standard Bank had targeted a four-star rating, so were pleased with the five stars the building received, says Rob Gravette, the head of project management at the bank.Open to the publicStandard Bank has created an attractive public dimension to the place – a green piazza the size of a rugby field open to the people of Rosebank, overlooked by the glass-fronted building. There it has planted 422 trees, all indigenous, as well as flower beds which by next summer will be bursting with blooms. In 2009 the bank cut down a number of established exotic trees on the site, including planes, pin oaks, palms, poplars, jacarandas, and the only indigenous tree, a white stinkwood, which caused a public outcry at the time.A green piazza the size of a rugby field open to the people of Rosebank (Image: Standard Bank)The public can enter the building from the piazza, and grab a meal at the ground floor restaurant. The foyer soars into the sky, with a set of escalators moving quietly up and down, offering views into the striking atrium with its huge hanging Marco Cianfanelli Africa-shaped sculpture, called The Seed, made of plywood stained with different earthy colours.The bank’s head office remains in the Johannesburg CBD, at the southern end of Simmonds Street, which houses 15 500 employees in 200 000 square metres. The dispersed business units have moved into the Rosebank building, although the eighth floor executive level is still to be occupied. This is where the chairman will find his desk.Sustainable constructionConstruction began in May 2010, and by mid-2013 the first bank employees started moving in. The finishing touches are still being applied, but it seems from the relaxed atmosphere inside that people are happy to be there, especially if they’ve come from the cavernous head office in the CBD.Massive triple-glazed glass walls go up 11 storeys, an area equivalent to 50 tennis courts, making optimal use of natural light and giving workers stunning views over the green trees and gardens of Rosebank.The building is in two parts: a nine-storey east wing and 11-storey west wing. And it ticks all the correct green boxes, of course. It has the usual dual-flush toilets, low-flow shower heads and tap aerators. Rainwater is harvested from the roof, reducing potable water demand by 56%. Water flowing into the basement – there are five levels of parking underground – is used for the gardens. There are bicycle lock-up slots for employees who cycle to work, with showers.An energy-saving gas-powered trigeneration plant, installed at a cost of R40-million, runs the building’s lighting, heating and cooling. “Standard Bank Rosebank’s trigeneration plant is South Africa’s second and, at a production capacity of one megawatt of energy, it will significantly reduce the building’s carbon footprint,” the bank said in a statement. There are also five generators, providing the building with full backup power, if needed.A cutting-edge digitally addressable lighting system, or Dali, has been installed in 99.26% of the building. This allows light fittings to be programmed according to use: lights automatically dim or switch off if an area is empty or receiving more sunlight. Lights near windows are dimmer than those towards the middle of the office, where less sunlight penetrates. Each light is linked to a computer, which tracks its performance. “Every light has an IP address,” says Gravette.One of the most impressive features is the windows’ triple-layered glazing, with a shading blind between the layers. The blinds automatically open and close as the outside light changes, taking the glare off surfaces inside the building. More than 65% of the exterior of the building is glass. The system took two and a half years for German experts to develop, says Gravette.Over 60% of the steel used in the building is recycled, while 50% of the timber has been sourced from Forest Stewardship Council certified suppliers. The council is an international not-for-profit organisation established in 1993 to promote responsible management of the world’s forests.At least 20% of the bulky materials used in the construction were sourced from within 400 kilometres of Rosebank, reducing carbon emissions in transporting the materials to the site.And, of course, throughout the building there are recycling bins for office consumables, and others for kitchen and restaurant waste.A studious atmosphereThe large offices themselves have a studious atmosphere, with stacks of white cabinets at the end of each long desk, labelled with the names of those sitting at the desk. Storerooms for files are discreetly tucked away, while air-con grids push out cool air at spaced intervals along the carpeted floor. Light streams in, wherever you sit.Each floor is colour coded, with communal work tables, café-style seating, armchairs and high-backed fabric seating, which is almost sound-proof, allowing for confidential discussions and alternative work spaces.“It’s different, and more relaxing,” says one employee, “I like the view and the office space allows for more interaction. I like to have people close.”Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Great Technology with Great Partnerships (Instakey Security Systems)

first_imgIn 2015, Under Armour, a rapidly growing sports clothing and accessory company headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, established a partnership with InstaKey Security Systems to implement a key control solution for 158 stores. The company recognized an opportunity for improvement in its key control to increase its ability to manage records more efficiently and to gain remote access to auditing of store key logs. Under Armour sought to partner with a business that could handle their continuous growth, scale efficiencies of service, and provide the ability to audit remotely.Working Together on a Rapid ConversionThe Under Armour global store development, asset protection, and store maintenance teams worked closely with InstaKey’s program development team to create and execute a rollout strategy that would generate the least impact on stores with the greatest efficiency for the conversion. Each team clearly knew its role in the conversion process and worked diligently to achieve the end goal in mind: to keep it simple for the stores. Under Armour converted a set number of locations per week, allowing for a structured and efficient rollout. Proactive communication and training with each location prior to its installation was key to the success. “The InstaKey setup was very simple to understand. There were no hurdles to jump through to start our relationship. Our teams worked cohesively to get the conversion accomplished in a timely manner,” said Robert Gibson, asset protection senior manager.Mike Kujawa, asset protection senior manager, also added, “The conversion process was seamless. Converting to InstaKey was a no brainer for us.” With effective communication, training, and combined partnership resources, Under Armour was able to achieve an extremely efficient, accurate, and quick conversion of its 158 locations.- Sponsor – Successes Realized From InnovationInstaKey’sKeyControl® Program has made a significant impact on the practices of Under Armour personnel. Management of locks and keys has become a worry-free process and are no longer a concern even when a security issue arises. In the event an issue does occur, there is a simple solution to rekey an entire facility with a turn of a specialized key. This “turnkey” process has resulted in significant time and cost savings for the company.Asset protection maximizes value by use of the cloud-based KeyControl® Reporting Dashboard as compared to a previous paper records methodology. The dashboard provides real-time visibility to aggregated key control reporting in a visual display of a client’s global key control program. Clients frequently utilize the dashboard to determine a store’s active key series and current key holders, allowing for auditing to quickly define exceptions or possible areas of concern. They also use the data to review turnover metrics, cost savings, order turnaround, and future budgets.Store managers also have access to a Digital Key Holder Update feature to change key holder assignments in real time, so they can track keys during employee turnover. This functionality gives the asset protection team an up-to-the-minute report of the store’s key control activity. Robert Gibson referred to this feature as “smart access” versus “dumb locks and keys.” He went on to say, “Digital is the way of the future and where we all want to be. The InstaKey technology is essential to the health of our business.” Mike Kujawa summed it up best: “Great technology with a great partnership—that’s what success looks like.”As Under Armour continues its growth worldwide in 2016, its InstaKey program investment shall continue to help provide safety, security, and cost savings to its locations. No matter which feature a retailer values, InstaKey’s programs are designed to provide simple solutions to key control challenges. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

How Yahoo’s Latest Acquisition Stole & Broke My Heart

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… I then went through the various tools available on the site to set certain conditions and threshholds and ended up with XML feeds I could do all kinds of things with. Like send me an email whenever there’s a TechCrunch story on the front page of digg, or when a search results page shows a TechCrunch story with more than 10 diggs. After I create an end product through the site, other users will be able (after a 24 hour period in which I can edit the project) to use my project either as is, altered to fit their needs or in the future, in combination with other projects.Below, a 4 minute video demonstrating Dapper that I recorded on New Year’s Eve 2007, after Wired Magazine wrote a post slamming web scraping. I had a sore throat, it was a holiday (on the next New Years I eloped to my living room and got married) but it was important that scraping be defended – a screencast had to be made! It was important. “What do you think about Dapper?” That was the question it felt like everyone asked me for weeks after I wrote up a startup called Dapper.net on TechCrunch in the Summer of 2006. “Create an API for any website!” was the company’s unofficial slogan. Almost no one understood exactly what could be done with this powerful point-and-click tool, but everyone I talked to knew it was exciting.Last week the company was acquired by Yahoo and brief press coverage of the deal called Dapper simply a semantic advertising platform. It was so much more than that, especially for me. Dapper set my imagination on fire, it powered acts of community management magic and it helped me meet Neil Young in person. We spent many long nights together. Four years after I first wrote about it, I still bring Dapper up in conversation frequently – but for a while now it’s been part of a story of heartbreak and caution.What Dapper DoesHere’s how I described the core service when it launched, in August 2006:Here’s how it works. Users identify a web site they are interested in extracting data from and view it through the Dapper virtual browser. [Co-founder Jon] Aizen showed my how to do it using Digg as an example. I clicked on a story headline, on the number of diggs and the URL field. I went to another page on the same site and did the same thing so that Dapper could clearly identify the fields I was interested in. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting In February, 2008 the startup held an event called DapperCamp in San Francisco. It was sponsored by IBM and MindTouch, because those and other companies were exploring ways to move data around from static websites into dynamic processes using Dapper.The event was fabulous. I was the least technical person there, but I flew down my young cousin on my Dad’s side, a developer in training, for his first experience in the Bay area web geek scene. We had a great time and worked late into the night sitting in a little bar brainstorming ideas and scraping feeds from websites.Our best idea was this: Yahoo’s service MyBlogLog tracked users who navigated to any participating website and upon visiting a site for the 3rd time, a user appeared in a field labled “New Fans” on your site’s MyBlogLog page. We used Dapper to scrape an RSS feed of the usernames of all the new people appearing as fans, people who had just made their 3rd visit to ReadWriteWeb, and we set up a workflow to email those people and welcome them to the community here. It was awesome.We scraped a feed of the most bookmarked ReadWriteWeb pages in Delicious, a feed of RWW stories submitted to Digg and the number of Diggs they had. We monitored those feeds in a dashboard. We scraped feeds, .csv files, image slideshows and more. It was wonderful.How Dapper Helped Me Meet Neil YoungI love Neil Young, I always have. In my early twenties I hitchhiked all around the country listening to a tape I’d recorded of Neil Young’s Greatest Hits albums that I’d checked out from the public library, until the tape was worn out and unlistenable. It was my personal soundtrack for years.Years later, I work on the internet. In my personal consulting practice, I used Dapper a lot. I used it in working with a group of accountants to scrape feeds of news updates posted to old-fashioned government agency websites that had no feeds. I once subcontracted as a consultant to a consultant to a consultancy to an analyst service serving a pharmaceutical company. (I thought that was far enough removed that I wouldn’t get any on me, but none the less at my first meeting an executive said to me ominously “welcome to Big Pharma.”)It turns out the client at the end of the long pipeline of invoices sold a diet pill, and young women were complaining on MySpace and forums that the pill sometimes caused leakage from their…and I showed the next consultant in line how to use Dapper to scrape the forums for a feed monitoring said customer complaints. The check cleared and I never went back, but I still thank Dapper for making that work possible. If stranger things were ever piped through the service, I don’t know what they were.And then Dapper helped me meet Neil Young, in person.I was working on a blog monitoring project for Sun Microsystems, building a web page that displayed the most recent and the most-talked about blog posts from around the web about 12 different Sun technologies, for use during the company’s huge user conference. marshall kirkpatrick As a part of that work, I was grabbing a feed from Google Blogsearch for long search queries like “Sun+Java-Indonesia….” etc. Google Blogsearch’s own RSS feeds were all full of cruft, though. HTML bolding the search terms in the description field, and more. Not being a developer myself, I couldn’t figure out how to strip that all out. I spent several nights pulling out my hair, worried I wouldn’t be able to create something that was production-ready for this big client.I tried Yahoo Pipes, I tried other blog search engines, but what I ended up doing was using Dapper to scrape a new feed from the search results pages. Those feeds were nice and clean to display on the project website.This wasn’t an easy thing to figure out. I tried many different strategies before discovering that, with help from the guys at Dapper even. As the project proceeded, my contact at Sun came to me and said (paraphrasing) – “Marshall, it looks like you’re going to be able to pull this off after all, but I wonder if you could add one more search query and module to the end product. It is very, very top secret though and you cannot tell anyone about it.”I said of course I could do that, what was the search query?“Neil Young,” she said.Of course I was more than happy to do that. It turned out that the big splashy secret announcement at Sun’s conference was that Neil Young was going to make a surprise appearance on stage to unveil the first ever collection of his entire life’s work, including letters he’d written, scanned-in notes from studio recording sessions, video interviews and of course all his music. All those materials would be made available on Blu-Ray, the media storage format that runs in all media players required to use Sun’s Java software.I built a long search query that would automatically deliver the best feed of search results about Neil Young’s news that I knew nothing about yet, and included it in my deliverables. The project was completed days before the big conference and it was exhausting.Just before the conference began, my Sun contact called me and said, “can we fly you down to the event for an interview with Neil Young as thanks for all your hard work?”And that’s how Dapper made it possible for me to meet Neil Young. We talked about electric cars (his new passion), about MP3 audio quality, about DRM and more. It was great.I used Dapper for many, many different things. I still use it regularly (I used it last night, in fact) and if I could stop time and geek out for an evening with no obligations, I’d still probably spend that time playing with Dapper or the similar new tool NeedleBase.Isn’t That Just an Ad Network? When Dapper was acquired by Yahoo last week, all the news coverage was brief and called the service a semantic advertising platform. How tragic! Co-founder Eran Shir wrote last week about the acquisition and said that the Dapper team always envisioned themselves making the display advertising world a more meaningful place. If that’s true I’m disappointed. That sure wasn’t what the service’s earliest adopters wanted to use it for.In February 2008 Dapper announced at its DapperCamp event that it would be launching an advertising technology. The Dapp Factory, as it was called, would not longer just be used to extract data for an undetermined purpose – it would be used to target contextual relevance for ad placement.A mere 35,000 “Dapps” to perform extraction had been built and the company was struggling to be financially viable. It was a confusing service with a challenging interface on top of a radically new user paradigm. The only clear solution was to become an ad network. To fund the semantic indexing of text fields around the web by turning some of them into advertisements.It’s cool. I’m ad-supported. But Dapper had promised more than that. It had promised to be an easy and powerful tool that anyone, with no technical skills, could use to render any web page dynamic, to monitor particular fields in pages for updates automatically, to pull sets of data off of pages around the web. It’s magic.It was beautiful, but people didn’t want it, they didn’t understand it. Because people are stupid. It’s maddening. If you tell people: take this tool, use it to get real-time notifications of changes to the tiniest part of any web page, use it to pull down sets of data from the web with a snap of your fingers, use it to work fast and get first movers’ advantage. Scrape, then grab the fruits of that scraping, then enjoy a fast-growing career and meet your childhood musical heroes! But no, if there’s an unclear step between a technology of empowerment and profit, a step that requires creativity and hard work, then the market at large throws a fit and demands that profit be instead put directly into its spoiled-child’s hand. “I want an ad network!” people say, effectively, “Give me the money directly!”Dapper as ParableA beautiful web technology is like a little fairy, whose light shines bright for a short time and then extinguishes. Enjoy it while you can, until an uncaring market starves it to death and it turns into an ad network, for lack of viable alternatives.Dapper still lets you scrape feeds using its legacy product. Hopefully Yahoo won’t shut that down, if it allows any of the service to survive. But imagine how much more powerful (and stable) this beautiful service might have been if the company could have found a way to monetize its core feed scraping and publishing product. If that had remained the top development priority.The same thing happens time and time again. “Your technology is too wonderful,” I sometimes tell the most inspiring startups I interview before they launch. “No one will understand how to capture the incredible value you deliver. Your sales people will pound their heads against a wall for months. And then you will become an ad network.”Companies laugh uneasily. Perhaps because they know how likely it is that I’m right. (Perhaps because they think I’m a creep who ought to be perfectly happy for them if they can manage to build a viable ad network.)I told Factery Labs that when I saw its demo. That startup provides an API that you can throw any URL at and get in response a feed of “fact-type sentences” extracted from the text behind the submitted URL. It’s awesome. Twitter client Sobees, for example, uses it to offer text summary previews of any links shared by your friends on Twitter. It’s great – but what are the odds that Factery is going to turn into an ad network? I think they are pretty good.I told the company that and they said, “what’s your shirt size?”I told them, and a week later a package showed up at my door from Cafe Press. In it was a hooded sweatshirt with the Factery Labs robot logo screen printed on the back of it. Around the logo circled the words: “Factery Labs – Not an Ad Network Yet.”It’s a cautionary tale – tell people that anyone can blog or Tweet, post a photo or a video, and you will change the world. Tell people that anyone can now extract text and data, process it automatically and treat web content like bowling pins, torches and knives in a capable juggler’s hands. Not enough people, at least so far, will care. You will likely become an ad network.Maybe that will change someday. Or maybe these freaky little services will remain forever like short-lived fairies, destined to be extinguished before their time.Either way, I had a lot of great times with Dapper. I hope that technology like it will never stop being born. Tags:#Analysis#web Related Posts last_img read more