Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Jon Stewart, Ning, Google Office(?)

First up today - a great interview/story in the Guardian about Jon Stewart - it's a lengthy read, but well worth it:
In a highly scripted election, during which mainstream news rarely departed from the storyline set by the two main parties, the clash between Stewart and Carlson was electric. Supposedly the election was a battle royal between Republicans and Democrats, and Crossfire was a symbol of it. Stewart's intervention - and the wide support he received - suggested there was an even deeper divide between political posturers and the public at large. A few months later, CNN decided to take Crossfire off the air.

"Ultimately, people would respond a lot better to being treated like adults ... if politics wasn't treated like marketing," Stewart says. This sounds like a great American fantasy. Every few years Hollywood produces a film, whether it is Warren Beatty's Bulworth or Chris Rock's Head Of State, in which a presidential candidate goes off-message, tells it like it is, and the voters respond warmly. The last time we saw anyone try this was Howard Dean and he was dismissed for his lack of polish. "But who said that?" asks Stewart. "The polishers. So much of what these guys do is an attempt to consolidate power because they feel it slipping away. They think Dean's out there. But George Galloway came here and completely blew away our congressmen. We're just not used to unvarnished rhetoric."
And while I haven't had much time to look at this yet, apparently there's a new toy called Ning which allows you to build your own web-based social applications. Sounds pretty cool, and apparently you don't need programming experience.

And the buzz around the web is that Google is introducing a web-based office suite (similar to MS Office), allowing you to open Word, Excel, and Powerpoint documents from any web browser. Sounds like Google is integrating Sun's StarOffice (based on openoffice.org) on this. Slashdot comments are usually good.

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