Dead trees for the rich

Roy Greenslade notes the debate prompted by The Economist’s attempt to understand what is happening in the newspaper world, and refers to a piece on Today earlier this week:

Here is the response to The Economist by two editors: Alan Rusbridger of The Guardian and Simon Kelner of The Independent, talking on this morning’s Today programme. Rusbridger agreed that not all newspapers would survive because “there is a disaggregation of advertising from editorial… a fragmentation of audience… competition from free sheets.” He did, however, have faith that revenue could be earned online. Kelner does not accept that papers will die, but to survive they must innovate. As for income, he believes cover prices must increase to compensate for the falling take from advertising. (Via BBC Radio 4)

Rusbridger and Kelner on The Economist from Greenslade

Kelner’s Independent has always had an appalling attitude to the Web, and it’s not surprising that he continues to believe that papers can survive since that is the only world he knows. And I have said for many years that the dead tree editions will be reserved for the wealthy, willing to pay vast amounts to have a printed newspaper instead of one on digital paper.  I can’t claim credit for the insight, though – I got it from  Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age, published in 1995 and read by me when I was right in the middle of my time at The Guardian’s New Media Lab.

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Lazy Sunday Afternoons…

Some of us read the papers, others walk the dog. But for a true geek, Sunday is just the day for installs and configuration.

I, like many millions of others, have a Linksys WRT54G wireless router at home. Generally, it’s been fine, but recently I’ve found myself having to reset it every few days when connectivity just seems to go away. Updating the firmware from the Linksys site didn’t help.So today I took the plunge and installed one of the free alternative firmware distributions available: DD-WRT.

Status-Q » Blog Archive » Taking the plunge and flashing

And in case I should be seen to be less than sympathetic to Quentin, I must confess that I spent the morning finding an AAC player for my iPaq so that I can listen to music from my iTunes library without having to convert files…

[Later – I’ve just upgraded two WordPress installations from 2.02 to 2.04 while having coffee and cake.]

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No photography

I do a fair bit of freelance work for the BBC, so I’m often in Bush House and other buildings. While there I sometimes spot things of interest, such as a display case containing Alistair Cooke’s typewriter.

And, this being the digital age, I take photos of the things I see and post them to Flickr.

Well it seems the BBC, dedicated though it is to the provision of information to the world and having ‘nation speaking peace unto nation’, is rather less happy about people seeing what goes on inside its buildings. There is, I’ve been told – only eight months after the event – a general prohibition on taking photos inside or of any BBC building without written permission from facilities management or whatever they call the people who look after the buildings.

This doesn’t seem to have inhibited the BBC Pool on Flickr or stopped some important people posting cameraphone photos –  but I’ve been asked by the man who organised displays to take down my pics of the Cooke typewriter and, since he arranged the display, I have done so.

Playing with Flock

I’ve just downloaded Flock, which advertises itself as:

a free web browser that makes it easier than ever to share photos, stay up-to-date with news from your favorite sites, and search the Web. Take our tour to learn what’s different about Flock, then download the beta to get started – and please tell us what you think.

Flock — The web browser for you and your friends

So far it’s really nice – especially the ‘web snippets’ and the integrated blogging, which I’m using here. I also like the way it integrates with Flickr so I can have my photos – or those of my friends – along the top of the window.

Too early yet to see if it will replace Firefox in my affections, but it’s clearly superior to Safari.

technorati tags:

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Suing Stephen Joyce

From Lawrence Lessig’s blog

The Stanford Center for Internet and Society’s Fair Use Project has filed a law suit against Stephen Joyce, who claims the right to control access to the papers and letters of James Joyce. The context of the suit is described well in this article appearing in the New Yorker by D. T. Max. The complaint in the case can be found here.

Lawrence Lessig

From reading the New Yorker piece mentioned, this seems about time – and I’ll make sure to read out large chunks of Ulysses on Bloomsday this Friday!

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That’s what I call serendipity

I wrote a piece about the ways that the Web encourages rather than destroys serendipity, and it has attracted some attention online. So this morning when I discovered that has a new blog search engine [thanks, Mike] I used it to see what discussion there had been recently about my piece.

And this is what i found…


Case proven, I think 🙂

From Vox Pop to Vox Pod…

I’m currently making plans for an exciting project, producing a daily podcast for the Cambridge Film Festival, which takes place from July 6-16th this year and will be packed with great films.

We’re going to be interviewing members of the audience as they queue to go into each show, and since it’s always a good idea to give each section of a radio show its own name, as it helps people understand the structure, we had been looking for a suitable snappy title. I remembered about six months ago coming up with ‘vox pod’ for this, as a play on ‘vox pop’, short for ‘vox populi’ or ‘voice of the people’.    I googled it and nobody else was using the phrase, so it seemed like an excellent plan.

I was surfing around today and came across this extract from the Media Guardian podcast, and knew just how Newton must have felt when he heard about Leibniz’s work on calculus…

I reckon we’ll still use it, though…

Delhi observations

Drawing crowds in the Old City

Monday was not quite the hottest day in Delhi so far, but 44 degrees Celsius made it the hottest May 8th for five years and, if the CNN weather maps are to be believed, made Delhi one of the hottest places on earth.

This may in part explain why, when Julian, Gareth and I stood at the closed gates to the Red Fort, the massive brick construction at the heart of the Old City built by the Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan, we attracted such a crowd. They were waiting to see which of us would faint or perhaps even die first in the heat that was extreme even for residents.

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My first time in India

It’s seventeen degrees Celsius in my hotel room on the sixth floor of Shangri-La Hotel in New Delhi.  The room is just starting to get warmer as I’ve turned off the air-conditioning, but it’s unlikely to approach the searing temperatures on the road outside, where yesterday’s peak of 44.5 was the highest in the city so far this year and prompted health advice from the local government.

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Meeting the Delhi Bloggers

I’m in Delhi, working on some programmes for Digital Planet, and I’ll write more about my first time in India later. But on saturday evening, seven hours after my plane touched down, I was lucky enough to be able to go along to a meeting of the Delhi Bloggers.
It was their eleventh meeting in the last two years, which is pretty impressive, and around thirty people showed up, which is more than normal. It would be nice to think they came because the fame of Digital Planet has spread to the Delhi blogosphere, but I suspect that wasn’t the case…

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