Mitch Wagner

Profile of Mitch Wagner

California Bureau Chief, Light Reading
News & Commentary Posts: 1161

Mitch Wagner is California bureau chief for Light Reading.

Articles by Mitch Wagner
posted in March 2008

Outspring Mail For Mac Learns From You

I've recently been bumping up against the rough edges of Apple Mail, and so I was very interested in learning about Outspring Mail, a $95 Mac e-mail program that's designed to observe the user's actions and learn from them.

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Qwaq Brings Virtual Worlds To Business Collaboration

I had a chance to talk with the CEO of Qwaq the other day. Qwaq makes virtual worlds software optimized for corporate meetings. If you've spent time in Second Life, you know the power of avatars and 3-D spaces to enhance conversations and collaboration. It's hard to explain to people who've never tried virtual worlds, but it's real. Qwaq is an attempt to tailor virtual worlds for business collaboration, adding features that businesses need and taking away features that are harmful.

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George Clooney Googles Himself

Writer A.J. Jacobs takes the debonair actor on a hilarious cybertour of what people are saying about him on the Internet. He bravely reads his Wikipedia entry, looks up reviews of his best and worst movies, and joins the Facebook group "George Clooney is NOT the sexiest man alive."

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Video: Bug Labs' Build-It-Yourself Mobile Devices

We caught up with Peter Semmelhack, president and CEO of Bug Labs, to talk about how his company is building tools to allow users to build any mobile device "as easy as snapping Legos together." The company's mobile devices are based on open source hardware and software to foster innovation. Watch now to get a look at the devices, and find out how Bug Labs hopes to make money by giving technology away for free.

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Arthur C. Clarke Remembered

Arthur C. Clarke, who died Wednesday, spent more than 60 years writing about how communications and computing technology could help drive the the next stage of human evolution. So it's appropriate that he's now being remembered on the international communications network, the Internet.

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Rosedale Out As Second Life CEO

Philip Rosedale, the co-founder of Second Life, is stepping aside as CEO of corporate parent Linden Lab, and the company will begin a search for a CEO with more operational and management experience. This could be great news for Second Life and its community -- the service is, in many ways, brilliant, but it often trips over its feet when trying to execute some of the functions that are basic to any business, like communicating with big customers and processing payments.

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Watch The Video Of My Interview With Fox News About Social Networks

Fox Business had me on this morning to introduce its viewers to social networking. I explained a little about what it is, who the big players are, and why it's popular. I talked about the differences between the three big companies, MySpace, Facebook, and Bebo, and why people like them. We're a social species (I said), and socnets replace the kind of face-to-face casual conversation we'd have if we all lived in the same small town and ran into each other on the streets every day. Watch the video

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Video: EFF Co-Chair John Perry Barlow Is Feeling Optimistic

We caught up with the former Grateful Dead lyricist and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation at the ETech conference in San Diego last week. He says technology is beating Hollywood efforts to control knowledge. We talked about how people will make money if they can't sell copies of their work, and more.

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Wikipedia's Tin-Cup Approach Wears Thin

Wikipedia gets 300 million page views per day and could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars if it sold ads. But it doesn't -- it survives on donations. The company hired an executive director nine months ago, and is looking for ways to raise revenue, which is tough because it's a not-for-profit that depends to a huge degree on volunteer labor.

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Mozilla Introduces Firefox 3 Beta 4

Mozilla introduced Beta 4 of Firefox 3 , with a boatload of stability fixes and a few improvements to the user interface. Mozilla says the beta -- like all the pre-release browser versions -- is for developers and testers only, but I've been using it as my primary browser since December and it works just fine.

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Visiting Roma In Second Life

Second Life's Aberystwyth Lane recently visited one of the best areas in Second Life: Roma, which is dedicated to role-playing the ancient Roman Empire. She posted a terrific photo essay, which highlights all the detail and creativity that went into the build.

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Will The SDK Be The iPhone's Achilles' Heel?

Apple is betting its future in the smartphone market on a control-freak business model. Where other smartphone platforms let anybody build applications for them, Apple demands to be the gatekeeper for what goes on the iPhone, to protect users from inappropriate and dangerous content, and to generate additional revenue for itself. But developers might decide that Apple's business model is too much hassle and give their business to competitors instead. And Apple needs third-party developers to ens

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ETech Video: Cory Doctorow On Climate Change, Being Great, Wireless Wiretapping, And More

We caught up with Cory Doctorow at the ETech conference here in San Diego. Cory is co-author of the blog Boing Boing, a digital rights activist, science-fiction writer, and all-around brilliant thinker. We talked about some of the themes that emerged at ETech, including how we can reduce climate change without "putting on hair shirts," how to become great, the wireless wiretapping controversy, and more.

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Lessig Advocates Technology Tools For Campaign Finance Reform

Government-reform advocates plan in two weeks to launch a system for members of Congress to pledge to reduce the role of money in government, Lawrence Lessig said. The Change Congress project will ask members of Congress to make three commitments: To reject contributions from lobbyists and political action committees (PACs), work to ban earmarks, and support public funding for elections.

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Bug Labs Looks To Make Mobile Innovation Simple

Bug Labs wants to make innovating hardware as simple as innovating software. So they created the Bug, an open source hardware design and software for building modular mobile devices. Developers can snap together a cell phone, camera, LCD display, GPS, accelerometer, and more to build custom tools.

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11 Lifehacking Tips For Improving Productivity -- And Knowing When That's Not The Point

San Diego -- Gina Trapani, the queen of Internet productivity, shared her tips for getting things done at ETech 2008, spilling the beans on best practices for maximizing results and efficiency. Trapani, editor of the blog Lifehacker and a book of the same name about to go into second edition, said that her whole career stems from a presentation at ETech 2004 -- one she didn't even attend.

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Learning To Get Things Done By Avoiding Meaningless Arguments

Consensus-building is key to getting things done in any organization. You can't get your way unless you get other people to agree with you. Sunday and Monday, I had encounters with two people who separately told me great stories that illustrate how to avoid organizational deadlock by skipping meaningless arguments. They told me about dinner-tabling and bikeshedding.

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25 Third-Party iPhone Apps We'd Like To See

In a case of great minds thinking alike, even as I was putting the polish on a wishlist of third-party iPhone apps, Macworld was doing the same. They had a few ideas I missed, including a finger-painting app, voice recorder, and app for listening to Internet radio.

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Developers, Get To Work: Third-Party Apps We Need For The iPhone

The iPhone is a terrific smartphone, but it's got some glaring gaps in what it can do. Many of these gaps are baffling because they're not particularly glamorous -- capabilities that have been available for more than a decade on other PDAs and smartphones are unavailable on the iPhone today. I'm excited about the imminent availability of sanctioned third-party apps on the iPhone in part because I'm looking forward to the iPhone getting some basic capabilities that, frankly, should have been th

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