recognizing Arthur C. Clarke’s third law

Archive for the ‘Print’ Category

I got a silver machine, it flies sideways through time

with 2 comments

On Demand BooksIt won’t appeal to Kindle fans, but I’m pleased to see that another Espresso Book Machine has found a home, this latest time in the Northshire Bookstore of Manchester Center, Vermont.

On Demand Books, the company behind the EBM, now has nearly 2 million book titles from major publishers available for secure and licensed publishing on demand, in addition to many books that are in the public domain. The machines also can handle memoirs, poetry collections, novels, cookbooks, and other books written by the customer who brings them in.

“The idea is that soon we’ll be able to print out any book that’s ever been printed,’’ said Northshire Books manager Chris Morrow. “That could really change people’s image of the small bookstore.’’

Morrow added that the success of self-publishing was a pleasant surprise. Northshore charges these customers a $49 setup fee plus 5 to 9 cents per page (depending on length). The store also maintains a network of professionals who provide editorial and design services.

(Title lyric from Hawkwind.)


Written by chris

July 6, 2009 at 9:53 pm

Don’t name your boat Titanic II

leave a comment »

DeweytrumanSome pundits, many of them traditional reporters, wrote about Michael Jackson’s death pitted new media against old media. Others said the reporters had a lot to learn from each other. But if they’re going to continue and be successful, I don’t think there should be any clear difference between them. Bloggers, Tweeters and their ilk need to work on improving their credibility. Those in print, radio and TV should improve their understanding of emerging media – not just its tools, but also its culture.

As for the mercifully few curmudgeons who are jumping on the bloggers who got it wrong, as though those errors prove we can’t trust digital media, I suggest they look up how many reputable newspapers reassured readers that all of the Titanic’s passengers were rescued.

(Title lyric from Beautiful South.)

Written by chris

July 4, 2009 at 2:03 am

Posted in Culture, Internet, Print

Tagged with ,

Everybody knows that everybody’s watching the news.

leave a comment »

Neda SoltaniA piece in the Economist analyzes the media coverage of the protests in Iran is more nuanced than its headline indicates: Twitter 1, CNN 0.

It notes that when the violence flared on June 13, CNN was showing a repeat of Larry King interviewing the mechanics of Monster Garage.

Meanwhile, Twitter and YouTube were flooded with information and images as they provided an infrastructure for an international exchange.

The article goes on to discuss how the traditional media picked up, and how “desk-bound bloggers” like Nico Pitney of the Huffington Post, Andrew Sullivan of the Atlantic and Robert Mackey/ of the New York Times brought a journalistic discipline to what had by then become a tsunami of frequently useless or redundant data.

President Obama warned Irani officials that, “The world is watching.” But that was only made possible because of what many people previously dismissed as toys and gadgets.

There are, of course, those who disagree with me.

(Photo is of Neda Soltani. Title lyric by Iggy Pop.)

Written by chris

June 23, 2009 at 1:52 am

Posted in Culture, Internet, Print, Twitter

Tagged with , ,

Have You Heard The News? Did You Get The Truth About It?

leave a comment »

franklin_the_printerNine visions for the future of journalism have been recognized by the 2009 Knight News Challenge, an honor that comes with enough funding to make a practical difference without making anyone wealthy. I think it’s important to notice that these awards are for the future of journalism, not the future of newspapers.

  • DocumentCloud, a project by the New York Times and the non-profit ProPublica, is creating an easily searchable, free, public online database of public records.
  • Crowdsourcing Crisis Information from Ory Okolloh and Ushahidi is a growing platform designed to strengthen the reporting and understanding of breaking news events by creating a free web map and timeline that combines and plots reports from citizens and journalists using email, texting and other communication technologies.
  • Mobile Media Toolkit from Katrin Verclas and MobileActive is expanding their work supporting the use of mobile devices and applications to create and broadcast local news reports.
  • MediaBugs by Scott Rosenberg is creating a wiki-style “neutral environment” for reporting, tracking and helping to resolve errors in news coverage.
  • Councilpedia from Gail Robinson and the Citizens Union Foundation of the City of New York’s Gotham Gazette wants to make local legislators’ voting records and campaign contributions available to the public – again, wiki-style.
  • Data Visualization from Aaron Presnall of the Jefferson Institute is creating a suite of online tools to help people understand the meaning and implications of community news and information.
  • The Daily Phoenix from Aleksandra Chojnacka and Adam Klawonn is helping people using the Arizona city’s new light rail system to inform themselves about Phoenix through news, games and social networking.
  • Virtual Street Corners is a digital media public art project that uses life-size screen images and AV technology to enable real-time chat between residents of two neighborhoods, providing a window and spurring discussion into others’ lives.
  • CMS Upload Utility from Joe Boydston and the McNaughton Newspaper Co. is creating a quick way to convert and load multiple newspaper files to a web site.

(Title lyric by David Johansen

I’m reading on the road

leave a comment »

Variant KindleScreenwriter/director John August has been engaging in some personal experimentation with emerging media [NY Times, login]. He has about 6,000 Twitter followers, most of whom presumably are fans of his work on movies including Big Fish, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the underrated The Corpse Bride and The Nines.

August tested a story with some of those fans, made changes influenced by their comments, and then personally formatted the finished result for Kindle. “The Variant,” as the story is called, is now available for 99 cents through Amazon or as a 25-page PDF file on (I couldn’t find it there, though, which may just reflect on me or the site’s search options). August said he has made “about enough to buy four Kindles” so far.

(Title lyric from the Beastie Boys.)

Written by chris

May 31, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Posted in Culture, Print, Twitter

Tagged with , ,

Hey, have you heard the news?

leave a comment »

hollywoodsignSpeaking of traditional media, Twitter offers up some intriguing statistics regarding the entertainment industry’s trades. Variety has 10,247 followers (ranked 2,176th on Twitterholic) and the Hollywood Reporter has 569 followers (unranked on Twitterholic).

Then there are the newer kids on the block. Deadline Hollywood Daily has 6,672 followers, while The Wrap has 638 followers.

I would have thought Twitter was a natural medium for the kind of news the industry thrives on – box office, signings, acquisitions, quotes from relevant people, even who was seen with whom at Craft. Are the disseminators doing it wrong, does their audience not Twitter, or is there a third explanation?

(Title lyric from Dan Bern and Mike Viola, for the Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story OST.)

Written by chris

May 21, 2009 at 4:45 pm

My slide rule is in my pocket protector

leave a comment »

franklin_the_printer“What’s killing newspapers is the same thing that killed the slide rule.” That provocative statement is oversimplified and kind of a cheap shot, in an entertaining way, but Jack Shafer writing in Slate makes a very good point. Digital technology is decimating the need for some jobs, just as it is creating new jobs and making other changes we can only barely see coming over the horizon.

But it’s essential to notice Shafer’s careful choice of words – it’s newspapers that are dying, not journalism. The business model and the product proposition are what need to change, not the practice of collecting, analyzing and communicating news. Check out the New York Times’ Times Reader as one idea for going forward.

Written by chris

December 29, 2008 at 9:16 pm

Posted in Culture, Internet, Print

Tagged with , ,