I’ve been kinda busy with other things lately (like, having a personal life) so it’s good to get back to some blogging on mbites (going since 2002, don’t you know?). Here’s a random list of things I’ve encountered recently.

• There’s a good article from Business Week on blogging, but you realise it’s written by an intern (it actually says this at the bottom) when they fail to check that TechCrunch UK is not running right now and implies Pete Cashmore’s Mashable makes all its money from advertising, when quite blatantly – and to be fair this is made quite clear – it is a front for his consulting services, which I dare say earns a tonne more money than the ads.

• Good piece from Last 100 on Microsoft’s future TV strategy: “There’s a reason Microsoft chose Mediaroom as the brand instead of simply Microsoft TV: they are looking to the future of entertainment, where TV is just one piece of the puzzle. Don’t be surprised if they eventually change “all your media in once place” to “all your media with you everywhere you go” because that’s where they are headed.”

• Marketers are abandoning Second Life. Why? Because inside the game they are purchasing genitalia but not, for instance the shoes that Reebok markets inside the world. Linden Labs claims it has eight million members but actual visitors to the world clock in at about 40,000 *regular* playing members. And many of those are members who do not pay a dime to SL. Meanwhile stores like American Apparel have been attacks by members. Not fun for marketers. The alternatives are going into worlds like There and Entropia Universe which are a great deal more structured than SL and don’t allow the sale of body parts. There is a long article investigating the whole issue over at The LA Times.

• This piece over at the NY Times seems to suggest Twitter is the new thing for marketers, but only today I’ve been reading about Twitter starting to struggle against Facbeook status updates. Conclusion? The market is in flux right now and there are no clear winners yet, especially in the realm of “expressive presence”.

• Content targeting is what Google has built its business on with AdSense contextual advertising. So by working out how to capture TV sound on a PC, Google can identify the TV show being watched and use that information to immediately return personalized Internet content to the viewer. This project is still in very early R&D stages but it is almost certain to happen. Does the TV industry have ANYTHING in response to this either via traditional broadcast network or IPTV? I doubt it. And it turns out ad-skipping could actually help TV networks to improve getting their ads in front of people who actually want to view them. Who knew?

• London is the Facebook capital of the moment, with more people here on the social networking site than in any other city. But without realising it most are now being unwittingly locked into a system that is going to be very hard to leave. Facebook’s locked-down approach is profoundly anti-Web 2.0 and utterly against the open standards the Web was heading towards. But as I keep telling people who wail about this stuff, this is exactly what works for the Average Joe. In just the same way Apple made digital music easy by instituting its own DRM (Fairplay) and eco-system (iTunes, iPod, Mac), Facebook is locking us all into its own application-friendly system. And we’re all biting. Facebook is now a Black Hole, sucking data into its inner core. Watch and learn.