Payback is a bitch, isn’t it Mark?

I’m shocked — shocked, I tell you — at the conspicuous lack of sympathy that’s being shown for poor Mark Zuckerberg, who has had to sue a magazine aimed at Harvard alumni for publishing some personal information about him, including (as I understand it) his parents home address and some of his, er… passionate journal entries and emails when he was just a young lad at Harvard. How dare they expose his personal data like that? Isn’t that an invasion of privacy? There should be a law or something. It’s almost as though someone was following him around, watching his every move and then publicizing that information without asking him. The nerve of some people.

U.S. gets Google, we get Ottawa

So the worst-kept secret in the mobile-phone industry is finally out: Google has confirmed that it plans to bid for new spectrum in the 700-Mhz auction that is to be held early next year. One of the requirements of the spectrum auction is that whoever wins must allow users to download whatever applications they want to their mobile devices, which would fit with Google’s Open Handset vision. Google CEO Eric Schmidt said:

“Consumers deserve more competition and innovation than they have in today’s wireless world. No matter which bidder ultimately prevails, the real winners of this auction are American consumers who likely will see more choices than ever before in how they access the Internet.”

Meanwhile, Canada is planning a spectrum auction of its own, and also hoping to increase the amount of competition in the mobile sector — which is currently held hostage by an oligopoly consisting of Bell, Telus and Rogers. Canada being what it is, of course, we don’t have a Google bidding for spectrum and promising competition, we have the government setting aside spectrum and blocking Bell, Telus and Rogers from bidding on it.

The hoped-for upshot of both moves is more competition, and as a result more features and lower prices (Om Malik doesn’t think Google is in it to win it). Will that be the actual outcome, or will it just mean higher handset prices and more attempts to lock customers into long-term contracts? Stay tuned.

Is ArmchairGM the future of blogs?

I was watching the interview with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales on Om Malik’s show on Revision3, because I’m always interested in what Jimmy is up to, and he mentioned a site called ArmchairGM, which I don’t recall hearing about before — or at least paying much attention to. Om was talking about how he wanted a combination of his blog and a wiki, so that his community could contribute and get involved more, and Jimmy said he saw ArmchairGM as being close to that kind of thing. is a sports site that Wikia (the for-profit company that Wales runs) bought earlier this year for $2-million. It’s designed as a kind of combination blog and community site for sports fans, and so it has a bunch of the same features as a blog — posts, comments, etc. — but also many features of a wiki, in that anything can be edited (apart from user profiles), as well as some features of a Facebook-style social network.

For example, the site allows members to give each other gifts (which have a twist, in that they can be created by members), and to vote on or rate each other’s posts and comments — and it also has an interesting level system that allows members to work their way up based on the amount of activity they put into the site. Registering gets you 1,000 points and recruiting a new member gets you 5,000, and you get points for writing a new post, editing a post, and whether your comments get votes or not.

It’s an interesting idea, and the site appears to have gained a substantial amount of traction and developed a strong community. I don’t know how long a period the numbers relate to, but the site says it has more than 73,000 pages and there have been 441,000 edits, 660,000 votes and 173,000 comments. As of September it had about a million page views a month, according to TechCrunch.

Facebook coffers go Ka-ching

Despite all the good-natured pokes (or is that Super Pokes?) that Kara Swisher has taken at young Mark Zuckerberg, she’s got a scoop about Facebook, and it’s not even Beacon-related: the company has attracted a $60-million investment from Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing — often known as Li Ka-ching, for his ability to turn gigantic heaps of money into even larger heaps of money.

A couple of interesting points to note: Facebook has apparently managed to get the $240-million investment from Microsoft and the $60-million from Li Ka-shing (which apparently didn’t come through either of his usual holding companies) without having to a) protect them from any downside or drop in the company’s valuation, or b) give them a seat on the board of directors. That’s pretty incredible.

It may not be Zuckerberg, but someone on Facebook’s negotiating team has brass cojones — and what’s better, the company continues to get what it is asking for. Rafat Ali at PaidContent sees a possible arrangement between Facebook and Tom Online, the Chinese portal that Ka-shing is chairman of. The big unanswered question, of course, is what the heck is Facebook planning to do with that $300-million?

I hate to say it, but he has a point

Came across this succinct appraisal of journalism — and journalism schools — in an interview that Campus Progess did with Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, who is clearly going for the “Hunter S. Thompson” award:

“If you have no real knowledge or skill set and you’re lazy and full of shit but you want to make a decent wage, then journalism’s not a bad career option. The great thing about it is that you don’t need to know anything. I mean this whole notion of journalism school—I can’t believe people actually go to journalism school. You can learn the entire thing in like three days.

My advice is instead of going to journalism school, go to school for something concrete like medicine or some kind of science or something and then use the knowledge you get in that field as a wedge to get yourself into journalism. What journalism really needs is more people who are reporting who actually know something.

Instead of having a bunch of liberal arts grads who’ve read Siddhartha 50 times writing about health care, it would be really nice if some of the people who are writing about health care were doctors.”

Well, at least there’s some hope left for my friend Dr. Tony Hung, who writes over at Deep Jive Interests.