Interactive pillow smiles at you!

Posted in 1 on April 20, 2009 by dschung

“Researchers at MIT’s Ambient Media have created what they call the Relational Pillow. The device is an interactive pillow concept that understands touch instructions and helps as a communication aid between different people. The pillow uses Wi-Fi technology to allow the users connect and communicate with other Relational Pillow users far away.

This would be of great help to separated lovers who long for each other’s company while in bed. They would no more feel lonely and secluded, as the Relational Pillow would help the lovers to stay in touch while both of them are not physically near each other. This could also suggest that the Relational Pillow is the first gadget or device to enhance and support long distance relationships.”



Money! – Justin Allen

Posted in 1 on April 19, 2009 by dschung

NBC show picks up $400 million an episode from viewers via SMS

“Deal or no deal” has become a big deal for generating revenue from a text-messaging contest conducted during the NBC game show.

While one reviewer called it “the dumbest prime-time show ever,” the audience this month has ranged from 14.2 million to 17.7 million viewers. And quite a few people are voting in a separate viewer-participation game integrated into the program called the “Lucky Case Game.” In it, viewers are given an opportunity to vote-online for free or by premium cellphone text-messaging for 99¢–on which of six suitcases contain $10,000. The winner is selected from a lottery among those who picked the correct suitcase; the winner’s name is broadcast live at the end of the program.

Executives at NBC and the show’s production company, Endemol USA, declined to say how many mobile votes were generated. However, it’s easy enough to estimate.

Jon Vlassopulos, VP-new media, business development and strategic planning for Endemol, said around the world 5% to 10% of viewers participate in the interactive aspects of the program. About 75% vote for free online. That means each episode collects, on average, roughly $400,000 in fees from text messages from viewers.


Still, that number is far less than what Cingular Wireless gets from its exclusive association with Fox’s “American Idol.” For the fourth season of the hit music contest, Fox said it generated more than 41.5 million text messages throughout the show’s 12-week voting period.

Industry executives said revenue from text promotions generally is split, 35% to 65%, between the wireless carrier and the content carrier, respectively, and the remainder goes to the aggregator or company enabling the program to work on numerous cellphones and wireless services.

Stephen Andrade, VP, NBC Interactive, said the network is so happy with the results that its “Celebrity Cooking Showdown” program will include a similar 99-cent text-messaging contest. This summer’s NBC reality series “Treasure Hunters” also will have a mobile-phone component. In addition, he said NBC’s sales department is actively speaking with potential sponsors for other aspects of “Deal or No Deal,” including sales of mobile wallpaper, ringtones and even a mobile game.

“Everything to do with digital is a top priority,” Mr. Andrade said.

PHOTO (COLOR): PHONING IT IN: Howie Mandel hosts show


By Alice Z. Cuneo

Against the Law

Text Charges

This week’s persecuted blogger story

Posted in 1 on April 13, 2009 by dschung

A Korean prosecutor is trying to get a blogger locked up for a year and a helf. See the story here.

Sports blogger makes money (Show and Tell Part 2)

Posted in 1 on April 13, 2009 by dschung

Just so I stay on pace with the rest of the class, here is my second show and tell for the week . . .

On Sunday, Parade magazine printed its annual report on what people in different professions earn, and a sports blogger named Josh Bacott appeared on the magazine’s cover with a reported salary of $10,700. It turns out, Bacott is the founder of

Remember when Dean and I discussed the idea of the former sports editor from Georgetown creating his own blog and using his contacts to provide sports reporting that might end up rivaling the actual newspaper’s sports coverage? We said it might be possible for him to make a living doing a sports blog. Well, this is kind of a more humorous, less local, and very cynical take on that idea.

More on this blog that’s bringing in decent revenue:

“ is an online publication celebrating the absurdity of professional sports. In fact, it’s been the site tag-line since it launched in 2005. In less than three years, has grown from a one-man operation to an industry leader in online sports humor. Like a large majority of their readers, the owners and columnists grew up as diehard sports fans, but recognized the immense entertainment value existing within the athletes, owners, and even the fans themselves. shares that perspective with its readers, five days a week, during all sports seasons throughout the year.”



Google Health

Posted in Show and Tell on April 13, 2009 by dschung

Google Health, a new service provided by Google, allows individuals to store and manage health information online.  Users can enter information such as current medications, allergies, and conditions.  Information pertaining to symptoms, causes, and treatments for various conditions is also available (much like WebMD).  You can also see how certain medications could interact with one another.  Google has partnered with hospitals and pharmacies so that you can actually import your health records from health care providers.  Users can also choose to share their medical information with friends, family, hospitals, or whoever they like.


Show and Tell Part 1

Posted in 1 on April 13, 2009 by dschung

This is an interactive “user powered Twitter directory” where you can not only see who has the most popular Twitter site (i.e. the biggest following), but you can also add your Twitter page to a topic specific directory. This site, WeFollow, is basically a place where people network about social networks.

If you’re interested, here are the top Twitter users:

CNN Breaking News cnnbrk

897,969 followers #1

Britney Spears britneyspears

859,457 followers #2

ashton kutcher aplusk

835,522 followers #3

Barack Obama BarackObama

749,682 followers #4

Jimmy Fallon jimmyfallon

635,704 followers #5


Newspapers using social media

Posted in 1 on April 12, 2009 by dschung

From using Twitter feeds to creating online events, newspapers are beginning to jump on the social media bandwagon, according to blogger Woody Lewis.

Here’s an excerpt: “Social media gives any business an interactive channel to communicate with its current and future customers. For newspapers, that channel can increase the chances of survival in a market where commoditized information has diminished the value of individual brands.”