Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Romeward Bound

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BoomTown is winging toward Italy this weekend to participate in an interesting gathering about digital and other issues related to innovation.

The once-every-seven-year conference apparently gathers all of Italy’s most powerful leaders, companies, and brands to discuss the future of their businesses and the changing nature of the relationships between companies, consumers and brands.

This year focuses on disruption and change, with the event titled: “Tutto cambia. Cambiamo tutto?”

That roughly translates to: Everything changes. But do we change everything?”

Si, cari i miei geek italiani!

While there, I will be conducting an onstage interview with Huffington Post co-founder and blogging diva Arianna Huffington and another with LinkedIn founder and CEO Reid Hoffman.

I honestly know next to nothing about Italy and the Web except that one of the country’s prosecutors recently decided to sue Google (GOOG) for defamation and breach of privacy over a nasty video it hosted.

But here are some interesting items I found today:

From Scientific American:

“Concerned that Christians are not entering the Lenten season (which began last week on Ash Wednesday) with the proper spirit, some clergy are calling on their flock to nix text messaging for the next six Fridays leading up to Easter on April 12. Christians are annually asked to refrain from eating meat on Fridays and to pray more regularly during Lent, but the church has apparently gotten hip to the hold that technology has on its brethren. The diocese of Modena-Nonantola in Italy in particular is calling for text-messaging-free Fridays as a way for the faithful to at least temporarily rid themselves of reminders of “material wealth,” but the church is also calling for such digital abstinence in the name of human rights.

The diocese, in a statement on its Web site (translated from Italian to English using Google’s translation software) notes that 80 percent of the mineral coltan–a metallic ore used to make used in consumer electronics products such as cell phones, DVD players, and computers–comes from Kivu, the war-ravaged eastern region of the Congo, where “civil war has caused more than 4 million deaths in the last ten [sic] years.” The diocese says that the extraction and trade of coltan by Western industry has helped fuel warfare in this region of Africa (a statement, they say, backed by a 2003 United Nations report).”

From ANSA.it:

“One out of four Italians have been a victim of identity theft at one time in their lives and one out of two of these discovered this by looking at their bank statements, according to a new report.

Drawn up by the consumer group Audiconsum, the report found that Italians are otherwise savvy about new forms of financial fraud and only 15.5 percent of the population has fallen victim to phishing, fraudulent emails from alleged banks and credit companies seeking financial and personal data for criminal purposes.”

From Billboard:

“According to data gathered by the auditors Deloitte on behalf of the major labels’ representative body FIMI in Italy, music sales (CDs, music, DVDs and digital) fell by 21 percent in 2008.

Total sales (after returns) were worth €178 million ($223.7 million) in 2008, as opposed to €224 million ($281.5 million) in 2007.

According to a FIMI statement, total turnover in Italy in 2008 returned to the same level of 1989.”

Of course, I will be there ferreting out my own info about the Italian Web scene, in an abbondanza of text and videos.

But until I post from there, here’s a trailer from one of my old favorite cheesy movies, “Three Coins in the Fountain.” (Hello, Rossano Brazzi!):


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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of Pets.com would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”