Saturday, December 13, 2008

Jules Verne discovers solution to book crisis: bottling

“I don’t have time to write, so I write books with fragrance,” said Ghislaine. “Fragrance is my ink.”

From Fashion Wire Daily.

Me and My Moleskine

“The democratisation of the BlackBerry (and the even earlier adoption of the all-tech iPod by the masses and not just the elite) leaves the posing class with nowhere to go except ‘by hand’. I travelled across Europe with Moleskines because sometimes sitting at a café, even with a shiny silver Mac, isn’t enough; you still look like an accountant. Also, writing by hand makes for such concentration of thought.”

Kate Muir quoting some blogger bloke.

London Today

Friday, December 12, 2008

...yer Dead, Pt 2 (ft Books)

The value of books sold on the high street fell 12.7pc in the week to December 6 against the same period a year earlier. That compared to a 6.9pc decline in the UK market as a whole, according to figures from Nielsen, the research company.

From the Telegraph.

On the other hand...

For any reader left feeling they didn't do enough shopping before Christmas, help is at hand from Nintendo, which is preparing to launch a library of 100 classic books for its handheld games console on Boxing Day.

From the Guardian. Or there is:

Bring Out Your Dead pt 1

With Jeff Jarvis as Scrooge...

But print weeklies are looking doomed without my hex. Newsweek is cutting staff and circulation. I got a Time this week and it was so thin I could have used its spine as a razor. U.S. News is essentially no longer. Business Week is struggling. TV Guide is walking dead. Even mighty People was down last year. Weekly is weakly.

From Buzz Machine.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

No, blog will after all eat itself and then repurpose the results

I just found...
...A site dedicated to the spam and scams sent to Madame Arcati (and everyone else) - no matter how ridiculous, fraudulent or outrageous the claims on Arcati's sympathy or greed, all spam received will be showcased here.


Word shout outs: hey misogyny, precipice & turmoil come on down

The most looked-up words in the online Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2008 ...

...Seven of the ten – bailout, vet, socialism, maverick, rogue, misogyny, and bipartisan – have political associations.
The other three - turmoil, trepidation, and precipice –have appreared frequently this year in discussions of the stock market and the economy.

From Daily Writing Tips.

Shakespeare nudges DARPA and Al Gore out the way to invent digital modernity

Something like that.

Now Ms. Garber singles out a new aspect of Shakespeare’s versatility. As her latest title indicates, she is out to assert that “Shakespeare makes modern culture, and modern culture makes Shakespeare.” In true academic fashion Ms. Garber loves that kind of commutative construction, the chiasmus. Shakespeare loved this too, and Ms. Garber has the chiasmi to prove it, straight from the source. (“What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba?,” “Fair is foul and foul is fair,” etc.) She is happy to compound her book’s facile inversions by calling her method, at one point, “as much pedagogical as heuristic (and as much heuristic as pedagogical.)”

Janet Maslin in the NYT on Marjorie Garber's “Shakespeare and Modern Culture”.

Ok Harvey, it's like Bonfire of the Vanities meets, ah, Hackers

Love World of Warcraft? And Hubris? Read this Wired piece now.

...And he played the game. You could call it solace: a way to fill the emptiness of failure with the curiously convincing sense of purpose that comes from steadily amassing a make-believe digital fortune in magic staves and platinum coins. But in time it would be more than that. Much more. Soon enough, amid the daily grind of his obsession, he would see in the game itself a way out of the bleak hole he had fallen into. He would take a clear-eyed, calculating look at what he and his fellow players had been doing all those months—at the countless hours they'd given over to the pursuit of purely virtual but implacably scarce commodities—and he would recognize it not just for the underexploited form of productivity it was but for the highly profitable commercial enterprise it might sustain. He would spend the next half decade bringing that business to life. And though some people would hate what he was building, and others would want to take it all away from him, there would come a day when Pierce, eight years older, could look back on an accomplishment that was bigger than he had ever envisioned—and stranger than he would ever comprehend.

Blog will not eat itself, just go on a diet: the micro blog


Tumblr is exactly the kind of startup that’s supposed to be gasping for air in today’s dismal economy: A trendy but niche Web service with a prominent founder and exactly zero revenue.

Instead, the New York-based company has just raised a $4.5 million Series B round that its CEO, 22-year-old David Karp, says will fund it for two and a half years.

From the Wall Street Journal today.

Here's my Tumbir. I use it as a post-modern news in brief, or NIB as I believe they used to say.

TV Guide

Jon Stewart for news; Newsnight for comedy.

All I want for Christmas is a transparent system of politics, and perhaps technology can help

Is it the case that government - and democracy - suffers because it it described by bureaucrats rather than it’s users? Is there a case that ‘Open Government’ would be better served by employing a trusted third-party mediator (with a ‘public service’ remit) and asking them to describe government for the rest of us?

From Local Democracy. Maybe technology can do it?

GuidoFish, anyone?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Iplayer: search loves it

Now how to build that social network around Iplayer

Fastest Rising Searches on UK Google 2008

yahoo mail
large hadron collider

Tons Google more data.

Corporate Blogs aren't trusted...

...stunning news, of course.
...the report points out, "companies that selfishly blog about their products [are reinforcing] the idea that blogs can't be trusted." In other words, 84% of corporate blogs today probably suck.

What's driving this prevailing consumer distrust? It can be many things, from pressure within an organization to make sure that a blog is "branded" enough in what it talks about, to inexperience of a random member of the marketing team charged with launching a blog but without a strategy in mind for how to make it something compelling. Usually, the deficiency comes down to content. Launching a blog with nothing to say is like paying for a blank magazine ad ... sure you own the space, but you've done nothing with it.

The self named Influential Marketing Blog reworks Forrester.

Trust and newspapers: rule 1 don't put the inconsistency on the front page

The science of selling newspapers is clearly Quantum and Stringy right now, but surely we can do a little better than this?

In the crowded Babel of the “information-rich” society, the key is the building and preservation of trust. That point is hardly original. But I’d like to underline the connection between plurality and trust. It’s good to go back to first principles and one of the best questions being asked and answered here was: what value does journalism add? The common denominator in the answers was that reliable information helps voters.

If a society is open and free, there will be no Great Editor in the Sky to settle the question of what or who does that best. A truly plural society will see a competition to establish trust. Someone spoke of the need for a gold standard. In an open society, the gold may mix with dross and people will argue about which is which. Journalism will be an alloy.

George Brock, Times International Editor, and conference chair of the journalism and democracy closed get together at Ditchley Park this week, in part of his summing up of the proceedings.

As Polis Director, Charlie Beckett, explains on his blog:

The thoughts of the various international editors, journalists, academics, experts and officials from government and other organisations were expressed under Chatham House rules.

Read both Beckett & Brock here.

And then see if you can join the dots between "the building and preservation of trust" and "Chatham House rules."

It can't be that hard. But just one question: what is there to be so secret about?

Nobody Knows

People don't really know how this is going to work," says Nicholas Economides, a professor of economics at New York University's Stern School of Business. Companies are trying many different approaches, but he says that a solid business model for social networking has yet to emerge. "There's no formula for success," he says. Even Twitter, for all its notoriety, has virtually no revenues.

From MIT's Technology Review.

The Past of writing - writers on writing

What are some of your writing habits? Do you use a desk? Do you write on a machine?

I am a completely horizontal author. I can't think unless I'm lying down, either in bed or stretched on a couch and with a cigarette and coffee handy. I've got to be puffing and sipping. As the afternoon wears on, I shift from coffee to mint tea to sherry to martinis. No, I don't use a typewriter. Not in the beginning. I write my first version in longhand (pencil). Then I do a complete revision, also in longhand. Essentially I think of myself as a stylist, and stylists can become notoriously obsessed with the placing of a comma, the weight of a semicolon. Obsessions of this sort, and the time I take over them, irritate me beyond endurance.

The Paris Review, Issue 16, 1957

"Honestly, I still can't wait to get my pants on in the morning," Friedman said. He wakes early, then exercises on a stationary bike, and if he has a column in the paper that day he'll read it through online two or three times, asking himself, "Did I get it right?" On weekdays, he'll head into D.C. for a seven-thirty breakfast meeting, which is sometimes followed by an eight-thirty breakfast meeting. The Times has a floor and a half of a building a few blocks north of the White House, and three of the four Op-Ed columnists who are based in Washington--Friedman, David Brooks, and Maureen Dowd, whom Friedman calls his closest friend on the paper--have offices at one end of an open-plan news floor. "I see him every few weeks or months, passing through on his way to Fez," Dowd recently said. Friedman's large corner office has windows that are oddly small and high, leaving wide areas of wall space. He has hung a poster of a three-masted sailing ship tipping off the edge of a flat world, which he bought long before he wrote "The World Is Flat"--attracted, in part, by the title, which is "I Told You So."

The New Yorker, November 10, 2008

More here at Daily Routines.

Another Way of Telling the Tech Story

From Stuff That Happens.

Typography Top 20 - '08

Lists, always lists at Christmas. So why not typefaces? Here's one of the top 20:

The rest here.

Journalism & Poignancy - one result of the democratisation of doubt

More sense from Terry Heaton’s PoMo Blog.

Chris Satullo, a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, wrote a poignant farewell column this weekend. He’s leaving the paper to work for the public station, WHYY.
I leave a business that seems to have lost both the will and the way to support the craft of journalism it once burnished to a fine sheen.

It’s a business that, in its pig-headed insularity, authored some of its own woes - but now is being swept helplessly along by the cascading changes of a Gutenberg moment. The Internet is changing our world as definitively as the printing press changed Europe - and more rapidly.

In my time, newspapers - and the journalists who worked for them - have made some mistakes. We embraced a priestly elitism, failing to explain ourselves clearly to readers or to confess frankly our mistakes of judgment. We were slow to respond when people, money and power flowed to the suburbs, slow to grasp the game-changing implications of the Web (though catching up now).

We screwed up plenty. At the same time, though, we did some splendid, useful things for the Republic.

That’s the pesky paradox of it: While we could at times be as arrogant as our critics claimed, we were more ethical and adept than they would ever admit.

Here's the thing about so much of the hand-wringing despair of journalists: how few times do the readers and audiences of "news" get a shout? How often does the behaviour of readers get noticed, or noted? And, if you know any print journalists, how many times have you heard them say: "I don't care about what our readers think?"

The democratisation of doubt extends to doubting the word of journalists - of course: it's out there, one contrarian click away.

More specifically British gloom here:

In 2002, 12.8m national newspapers were sold daily on average in the UK. This year it was fewer than 11m and in 2013 it will be slightly above 9m, according to Enders Analysis, the media research specialist.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

MIT & Storytelling

The Center for Future Storytelling will be co-directed by three Media Lab principal investigators: V. Michael Bove Jr., an expert in object-based media and interactive television; LG Associate Professor Cynthia Breazeal, a leader in the field of personal robots and human-robot interaction; and Associate Professor Ramesh Raskar, a pioneer in the development of new imaging, display and performance-capture technologies.

Kept forgetting to post this.

Newspapers on Facebook important updates 1

The Chicago Tribune is now reading Chapter Eleven

Jeff thinks he knows everything, but Roy knows better

Roger believes that bloggers should always be topless

Paul is happy to be reciting that monologue again

Ian is wondering if he will always be known for Wallcharts

Stephen has started the hat diet

Guido thinks he might be going soft

Sir Michael has been soft for a long time

Charles has commented on Jonathan and Russell again

Charles is now a fan of YouTube

Sam is now writing The Forty Six Steps

Charles has removed television from his list of interests

Roger Commented on Marina's new photo

Catherine joined the group I'm Feeling Hateful Again

Simon cannot believe that Franz Ferdinand has been shot

Roger and John and Simon are now friends with Paul, but Paul thinks they're all monologues

Henry has re-joined MI6

Nick is wondering why the world is so flat and has concluded that it is all the fault of PR

Robert is still a fan of his friend's books

Rod is thanking his lucky stars that despite the credit crunch there still is money to be made from fraying Victorian hemp

Richard is in Florida

Richard has added England to places he'd like to visit

Michael commented on David's new play

David is now online

David is now writing a play about the failure of the internet to bring about democracy

David is looking forward to the first night of his new play, Only Connect

Michael commented on David's new new play

Dylan is worried about the credit crunch

Robert is blogging

Roland is now friends with Robert

Peter is now friends with Robert and Roland and George

The Indy has joined the group Save the Chicago Tribune

Jeremy is still offline

Simon added Lohengrin to his Music I Like

Mark has joined the group I Love I-Player

Piers poked Simon

Simon poked Piers

Lionel is now friends with James and Rupert

Marjorie is frankly confused

The London Newspaper is thinking WHAT ON EARTH ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT?

The Guardian has moved

Home Thoughts From Rose Tinted Spex

The national flow of news is vital but on this blog I just want to concentrate for a moment on the horror of a local life without a decent paper. A good local paper should be one where you can find the second hand pram, see a pic of your grandparents celebrating their golden wedding, find out why Bank St has been shut by road works for a millenium, read about councillors’ expenses and find out who’s campaigning on what. You should be able to get good information about the council’s programmes, police activity, local schools and local characters.

From Lindsay Mackie in the nef triple crunch blog.

Outside in? The future of local news?

Closing Down ISPs, some thoughts

From Techdirt.

Lynch mob justice, even when well meaning, can inflict collateral damage and occasionally pick the wrong targets leading to significant damage with little recourse.

Some have equated these types of actions with a Neighborhood Watch program - good intentioned folks driving off negative influences. But the key difference is the lack of legal authority and due process.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Green Font: uses 20 per cent less ink and is free to download

A good idea is always simple: how much of a letter can be removed while maintaining the readability? After extensive testing with all kinds of shapes the best results were achieved by using small circles. Lots of late hours (and coffee) later have resulted in a font that uses up to 20% less ink. Free to download, free to use.


The play's the thing: Hamlet on Facebook

The king thinks Hamlet's annoying.

Laertes thinks Ophelia can do better.

Hamlet's father is now a zombie.

- - - -

The king poked the queen.

The queen poked the king back.

Hamlet and the queen are no longer friends.

Marcellus is pretty sure something's rotten around here.

Hamlet became a fan of daggers.

More here from McSweeney's.

And here's a Jane Austen one.

Wanted: Dolby for the Web

If someone can become the Dolby of the web — remove the noise and give us clear sound — then they are going to make a lot of money. And when I say sound, I mean data that is truly useful. But that would just be the start.

Good piece on the cacophony of social media.

Behind the scenes in toytown: Indy has Issues, not the only one

From the very excellent "The Private Lives of Your Favorite Toys".

Perspective: it was a v.good year for stories, and yet...

... was the kind of year in which circulation should have boomed. If you live for a story, this year was an embarrassment of riches.

And yet the decline didn’t just continue. It accelerated.

Between March and September the 500 biggest newspapers in America reported an average circulation decline of 4.6%. In six months. That’s close to a 10% decline per year. No newspapers showed any but fractional gains. It is therefore a near-certainty that many towns and cities in America will no longer have a newspaper after the down-turn. And that may apply not just to small names but to some big ones as well. The Los Angeles Times, for example, has gone from a circulation of 1.1m to 739,000 since the turn of the millennium. Its staff has been halved. Morale has never been lower.

Andrew Sullivan on newspapers, in a newspaper.

And the New York Times Executive Editor, Bill Keller, is worried too:

"Good journalism does not come cheap. And, therefore, you're not going to find a lot of blogs or nonprofit Web sites that are going to build a Baghdad bureau."

He also noted that "there's a real shortage of the kind of information that I would call quality journalism."

NPR, Morning Edition.

Keeping Up With the Linguistics of Lurve


v: the act of text messaging someone in the hopes of having a sexual encounter with them later; initially casual, transitioning into highly suggestive and even sexually explicit...

From the Urban Dictionary, yesterday.

Blog will eat itself Two

It's the inexorable meme: blog eating itself.

So while the new media elite is throwing stones at the old media guard, taunting them with how great their blog audiences are and celebrating the imminent downfall of print media, they should stop to consider the glass house they might be living in. The technological disruption of media doesn’t end with Web 2.0, blogs, and new media. The train keeps moving. There’s always something else, and the pace of change is accelerating. It’s going to require adaptation not just from traditional media but from anyone who considers themself a publisher.

From Max Gladwell.

YouTube: the new judge in the Coldplay Copyright Case

Exhibit One M'Lord.

More from BBC.

Memo to Newspapers: stop writing useless stories

From Publishing 2.0.

To do this, they [newspapers] have to practice innovation-by-omission. That is, they need to stop writing stories that don’t deserve to be written.

Newsrooms no longer have the luxury of wasting resources on non-stories...They no longer have the luxury, in an information-overload world, of wasting readers’ time with non-stories or information readers already know. Readers will simply go somewhere else.

Amazing Google "Life" magazine photo search

The Google Life search. 1860-1970. Just awesome.

Facebook the Music and dance

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talks to Techcrunch.

Mark confirmed that Facebook was investigating the possibility of launching a music application.

To make a really good music application you have to have access to music. We felt that because we are operating at a much larger scale than any of the developers at this point, right now at least, we felt like we had a good chance of helping someone negotiate to get access to the music necessary to create a good music application. That is the theory as to why we were exploring this.

From Techcrunch.

Kindle Upgrade Comes Early?

From Walking Circles.