"newspapers" entries

Newspaper Paywalls

Evolutionary history shows us that doubling-down on your defenses is effective against predators but useless against environmental change. Newspapers locking up their content in paywalls and trumpeting loudly against Google might be effective if Google were merely a predator. But this is the Internet, where copies are free, everyone could be a customer, your competitors are just a click away,…

Four short links: 19 February 2010

Four short links: 19 February 2010

Data Adjustments, Grasping Telcos, Open Data Panacea Denied, Newspaper Software

  1. How to Seasonally Adjust DataMost statisticians, economists and government agencies that report data use a method called the X12 procedure to adjust data for seasonal patterns. The X12 procedure and its predecessor X11, which is still widely used, were developed by the U.S. Census Bureau. When applied to a data series, the X12 process first estimates effects that occur in the same month every year with similar magnitude and direction. These estimates are the “seasonal” components of the data series. (via bengebre on Delicious)
  2. Vodafone Chief: Mobile Groups Should Be Able to Bypass Google (Guardian) — Vodafone and other telcos want to charge both ends, to charge not just the person with a monthly mobile data subscription but also the companies with whom that person communicates. It’s double-dipping and offensively short-sighted. Vodafone apparently wants to stripmine all the value their product creates. This is not shearing the sheep, this is a recipe for lamb in mint sauce.
  3. Open Data is Not A Panacea, But It Is A StartThe reality is that releasing the data is a small step in a long walk that will take many years to see any significant value. Sure there will be quick wins along the way – picking on MP’s expenses is easy. But to build something sustainable, some series of things that serve millions of people directly, will not happen overnight. And the reality, as Tom Loosemore pointed out at the London Data Store launch, it won’t be a sole developer who ultimately brings it to fruition. (via sebchan on Twitter)
  4. Our GeoDjango EC2 Image for News Apps — Chicago Tribune releasing an Amazon EC2 image of the base toolchain they use. Very good to see participation and contribution from organisations historically seen as pure consumers of technology. All business are becoming technology-driven businesses, realising the old mindset of “leave the tech to those who do it best” isn’t compatible with being a leader in your industry.

When it Comes to News, Why Won't People Eat Their Vegetables?

Chris Lee thinks that people don't get enough news they need, as opposed to want.

One of the basic questions in journalism these days is the one of what news consumers actually want. Chris Lee believes that today’s citizenry is getting too much of what they want, and too little of what they need. With the Tools of Change for Publishing conference approaching, it seemed appropriate to talk to Lee, who has spent his professional life in the trenches of broadcast journalism, about where the industry is going and what the future of news looks like.

Four short links: 24 December 2009

Four short links: 24 December 2009

Minds for Sale, Heat Death of the Web, Handheld Wireless Magazines, Joking Computers

  1. Jonathan Zittrain on “Minds for Sale” — video of a presentation he gave at the Computer History Museum about crowdsourcing. In the words of one attendee, Zittrain focuses on the potential alienation and opportunities for abuse that can arise with the growth of distributed online production. He also contemplates the thin line that separates exploitation from volunteering in the context of online communities and collaboration. Video embedded below.
  2. Anatomy of a Bad Search Result — Physicists tell us that the 2nd law of Thermodynamics predicts that eventually everything in the universe will be the same temperature, the way a hot bath in a cold room ends up being a lukewarm bath in a lukewarm room. The web is entering its own heat death as SEO scum build fake sites with stolen content from elsewhere on the web. If this continues, we won’t be able to find good content for all the bullshit. The key is to have enough dishwaster-related text to look like it’s a blog about dishwashers, while also having enough text diversity to avoid being detected by Google as duplicative or automatically generated content. So who created this fake blog? It could have been Consumersearch, or a “black hat” SEO consultant, or someone in an affiliate program that Consumersearch doesn’t even know. I’m not trying to imply that Consumersearch did anything wrong. The problem is systematic. When you have a multibillion dollar economy built around keywords and links, the ultimate “products” optimize for just that: keywords and links. The incentive to create quality content diminishes.
  3. Magplus — gorgeous prototyping for how magazines might work on new handheld devices.
  4. Glasgow’s Joking ComputerThe Glasgow Science Centre in Scotland is exhibiting a computer that makes up jokes using its database of simple language rules and a large vocabulary. It’s doing better than most 8 year old children. In fact, if we were perfectly honest, most adults can’t pun to save themselves. Q: What do you call a shout with a window? A: A computer scream. (via Physorg News)
Four short links: 2 December 2009

Four short links: 2 December 2009

Dow Jones Tanty, When a Purchase Isn't a Purchase, Surveillance Surprises, and an Open World Bank?

  1. Dow Jones CEO’s Sandbox Tantrum — keynote by Dow Jones CEO at the World Newspaper Congress. Highlights include: “the content kleptomaniacs of the Internet”, “a lot of newspaper people were taken in by
    the game-changing gospel of the internet age”
    , “Free costs too much”, “Consumers will seek the valuable over the vapid because they always do”. Dow Jones is owned by News Corp, whose Rupert Murdoch is on a campaign to build a Maginot paywall around news.
  2. What Does It Mean to “Buy” an Ebook?There is a disconnect of language here, probably a side effect of legacy businesses working with their legal teams to try and grab control while the consumer base, disorganized as it naturally is, is expected if not forced to make its arguments with the rubric set by the producers. In other words, “buying” an e-book is different than “buying” a book, even though from the consumer’s standpoint, it shouldn’t be.
  3. 8 Million Reasons for Real Surveillance Oversight — Sprint set up a self-service portal for law enforcement and returned 8 million requests for cellphone GPS locations in the first year. This is an incredibly comprehensive analysis of published and revealed numbers of surveillance–it’s orders of magnitude larger than anyone had realised. See also the leaked law enforcement howtos from Facebook, MySpace, and Yahoo!.
  4. World Bank Announces Landmark Policy on Access to InformationThe policy on access to information provides for the disclosure of more information than ever before – on projects under preparation, projects under implementation, analytic and advisory activities (AAA), and Board proceedings. This information will be easily accessible on the World Bank’s external website and available through the InfoShop, public information centers, and the World Bank Group Archives. At the same time, the policy strikes a balance between maximum access to information and respect for the confidentiality of information pertaining to its clients, shareholders, employees, and other parties. Recognizing that the sensitivity of some information declines over time, the policy provides for the eventual declassification and disclosure of restricted information over a period of five, 10 or 20 years, depending upon information type. A major international institution promises transparency, one which has been criticised for secrecy and opacity in the past.
Four short links: 30 November 2009

Four short links: 30 November 2009

Paywall Performance, News Decisions, Sony Subsidising US Supercomputer, Invisible Open Source Business Model

  1. Paywall Performance for News — the National Business Review (NBR) in New Zealand went to a paywall in mid-July, and Foo Camper Lance Wiggs says their visitor numbers reveal a grim picture. As a commenter says, of course, visitor numbers go down but NBR makes money directly from the visitors that stay. I’m curious to see the effect on advertisers now the site’s incentives are not to spray their load far and wide to land on as many eyeballs as possible. An interesting canary in the mine for Rupert’s paywall plans at Fox.
  2. Real Time, Real Discussion, Real Reporting: Choose Two (CrunchGear) — a long post about the Internet’s effects on journalism, but the headline will stick with me the longest.
  3. Sony Still Subsidizing US Supercomputer Efforts — US military buying PS3s as a cheap source of cell CPUs. The PS3’s retail price is subsidized by Sony, driving game sales in a razor-blades model. It’s like you could melt down razors and get more in scrap metal than they cost to buy at the supermarket … (via BoingBoing)
  4. Open Source Proves Elusive as Business Model (NYTimes) — To Ms. Kroes’s point, there is an open-source alternative, and usually a pretty good one, to just about every major commercial software product. In the last decade, these open-source wares have put tremendous pricing pressure on their proprietary rivals. Governments and corporations have welcomed this competition. Whether open-source firms are practical as long-term businesses, however, is a much murkier question. On the contra side, Mozilla makes millions from referred searches and must be counted as a win for open source even though it’s not a company.
Four short links: 25 November 2009

Four short links: 25 November 2009

Sexy HTTP Parser, 9/11 Pager Leaks, Open Source Science, GLAM and Newspapers

  1. http-parserThis is a parser for HTTP messages written in C. It parses both requests and responses. The parser is designed to be used in performance HTTP applications. It does not make any allocations, it does not buffer data, and it can be interrupted at anytime. It only requires about 128 bytes of data per message stream (in a web server that is per connection). Extremely sexy piece of coding. (via sungo on Twitter)
  2. Wikileaks to Release 9/11 Pager Intercepts — they’re trickling the half-million messages out in simulated real time. The archive is a completely objective record of the defining moment of our time. We hope that its revelation will lead to a more nuanced understanding of the event and its tragic consequences. (via cshirky on Twitter)
  3. Promoting Open Source Science — interesting interview with an open science practitioner, but also notable for what it is: he was interviewed and released the text of the interview himself because his responses had been abridged in the printed version. (via suze on Twitter)
  4. Copyright, Findability, and Other Ideas from NDF (Julie Starr) — a newspaper industry guru attended the National Digital Forum where Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums talk about their digital issues, where she discovered that newspapers and GLAMs have a lot in common. We can build beautiful, rich websites till the cows come home but they’re no good to anyone if people can’t easily find all that lovely content lurking beneath the homepage. That’s as true for news websites as it is for cultural archives and exhibitions, and it’s a topic that arose often in conversation at the NDF conference. I’ve been cooling on destination websites for a while. You need to have a destination website, of course, but you need even more to have your content out where your audience is so they can trip over it often and usefully.
Four short links: 9 November 2009

Four short links: 9 November 2009

Moth Mind Readers, Shiny UI Futures, Usable Newspapers, Hardware Testing

  1. A Battery-Free Implantable Neural Sensor (MIT Tech Review) — Electrical engineers at the University of Washington have developed an implantable neural sensing chip that needs less power. Uses RFID’s induction technology which means the power source can be up to a meter away. Proof of concept was implanted in a moth to sense central nervous system activity.
  2. New Microsoft Interface Technology — videos from Craig Mundie (Chief Research and Strategy Officer) on the MS Campus Tour talking about the future of UI using a sexy glass prototype that features tablet PC, gesture, speech recognition, and even eye tracking. Lustable.
  3. Adding Usability to Print — detailed description of a failed pitch to reinvent a newspaper, to bring web sensibility to print. Make the paper more usable, think cross media instead of separate media, while using the strength of the paper (pictures, info graphics, nice text) to the max… Make a product that people want to buy because it is more usable that the competitor, not because it wins graphic design prizes. (via Evolving Newsroom)
  4. StressAppTest — Google-created open source project to pound the living crap out of hardware by maximising random traffic to memory from processor and I/O, with the intent of creating a realistic high load situation in order to test the existing hardware devices in a computer.

"We had all the advantages and let it slip away"

Among the most honest assessments of the failure of newspapers to adapt to the Web comes from John Temple, former editor, president and publisher of the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News. The whole thing is unflinching, powerful, and nearly every word worth reading if you're part of a media company hoping to survive the current digital environment, much less the…

Stop Giving the Newspapers Your Advice – They Don’t Need It

Speculation about the demise of the news business and advice about what they should do about it is everywhere. It makes for great, self-congratulatory sport but it won’t help the news industry. Why? Because the news industry doesn’t suffer from a shortage of ideas or possible revenue models, it suffers from a different but more acute malady: being an institution…