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jmproffitt

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  • Sep 29th, 2010 @ 2:36am

    Where citizen journalism might help

    Having worked with reporters, I saw this, too. It's one of those ethics rules they use, and there are some good reasons for it. One reporter I worked with was the old-school "we're here to tell people the truth whether they like it or not" guys. However, his "truth" was almost exclusively a liberal point of view that wasn't always based in facts or reality, but opinion. So the rules are there to keep reporters in check to some degree.

    That said, I think the problem you point out is valid. And I wonder whether citizen journalists, who aspire to tell a true story, could get around this little problem. They aren't concerned with advertising, so that won't be a self-censoring problem. They may be concerned with access, of course, but if your livelihood doesn't come from journalism, you may be freer to speak the truth, even without quotes.

    Finally, I do have one question: Should we be concerned about whether a reporter is "reporting" or "speculating" in a story? If a reporter "knows" Zucker is outta there, and they say so, isn't that opinion, and therefore not reporting in the classic sense?

    Maybe the classic sense is just that, though... classic, not current.

  • Sep 16th, 2010 @ 12:29am

    What about Ohio State's public status?

    Though the copyright infringement ideas hold sway in our courts these days, what about the fact that OSU is a state-supported land-grant university?

    On top of their sports activities being public domain by nature of being open to the public, these events, the facilities, the salaries of staff and the students themselves are supported, at least in part, by the generosity of federal, State and local government and taxpayers.

    That fact doesn't invalidate any relevant laws regarding trademark and so forth, but it should weigh heavily on the minds of the judges.

    As for the term "buckeye," that word is used statewide to refer to people from Ohio in general as well as fans of and students at Ohio State. It's also used by biologists / botanists. NO WAY does OSU "own" such a term.

  • Sep 14th, 2010 @ 12:43am

    Amazing diversification

    Netflix is nothing short of amazing if for no other reason than their relentless pursuit of being on every device and platform with their streaming service. Consider the platforms they currently serve (just off the top of my head):

    * DVD (disc)
    * Blu-ray (disc)
    * Mac (desktop, laptop, etc.)
    * Windows (desktop, laptop, netbook, media center, etc.)
    * iPhone & iPod Touch
    * iPad
    * Xbox 360
    * PlayStation 3
    * Wii
    * Roku
    * Apple TV (2010)
    * Boxee

    That is incredible. Who else can boast such a reach across platforms? Not even Adobe's Flash has such a reach.

    Netflix's high-level platform-agnostic goal (change the way the bulk of the media market receives and watch professional video content) powers them forward.

    And on that broadest-possible goal, they have a LONG way to go. But they're on their way. Blockbuster never had that goal. TiVo doesn't have that goal. Boxee's goal is tied to technology, not consumers (it's the Linux of Internet video viewing). Even Apple, with the iTunes Store, is focused on selling more devices (though if feels like that strategy is drifting lately).

    All the best wishes to Netflix. The TV and movie middle-men deserve what's coming to them.

  • Feb 16th, 2010 @ 10:54pm

    End of an era

    My take is that we're reaching the end of the first wave of personal computing; we've gone as far as we can go with the current approach to operating systems, applications and expectations of computing expertise by end users.

    Smartphones and things like the iPad and Chrome OS are starting the next wave. Multitouch and speech recognition technologies are just now reaching the point where developers understand how to use them effectively. As "applications" increasingly become complete interactive environments and experiences instead of "this window that runs on your OS," we'll get a new kick of productivity as non-computer-science folks (nearly everyone) is saved the hassle of learning computer science to do simple things.

    Consider the car metaphor. When it came around, you had to know a crap load of technical information to run them well. Enthusiasts took over. They tweaked and tinkered; they raced and redesigned. But in time, the car was made simpler. Ignition systems were developed. Automatic transmissions appeared. Cars ran longer with fewer maintenance requirements. The relative cost of cars came down and they were specialized over time, not to mention made more comfortable and functional for more people in more situations. Computers are now starting to exit the general purpose tinkering phase just as cars did.

    For IT professionals, this has got to be confusing and frustrating. You train a lifetime for a career and you're now caught between two worlds. On the one hand, you've got drop-dead-simple devices and interfaces appearing, and the users don't need you anymore -- indeed, you're in their way. On the other hand, you have these legacy systems and applications that you need to maintain with an iron fist to drive out costs and force standardization on the seemingly uncontrolled masses. In one situation you're standing in the way of progress, preventing people from experiencing happy productivity. In the other, you're the enforcer of the factory mentality the corporation wants to exert on its workers, pushing locked-down Windows boxes and tightly-limited apps on an ungrateful bunch of users.

    In short, if you're in IT today, you can't win. That would discourage anyone.

  • Feb 16th, 2010 @ 10:42pm

    Re:

    Hmmm...

    "idiot underlings"
    "menial Windows paradigms"
    "idiot users"
    "so clueless"
    "manage by morons"
    "idiot tech policies"
    "clueless executives"

    Must suck to be you.

  • Jan 21st, 2010 @ 6:01pm

    Read Bob Lewis for more on "IT as a business"

    InfoWorld columnist and author Bob Lewis has been writing about this idea for years, and he always shreds it to pieces.

    You can find him here...
    http://www.issurvivor.com/

    ...and here...
    http://www.infoworld.com/blogs/bob-lewis

    IT needs to do two things well:
    [1] keep the business running as-is, making it incrementally more efficient along the way (keep the lights on, install more efficient lights)
    [2] help the business find or create competitive advantage by applying new technologies that leap substantially beyond current practice (teach the business to see in the dark, then get rid of the lights)

    IT gets a bad rap because businesses don't know what to ask of this group, and businesses oftentimes hire the wrong people for this role.

    It's art AND science. Telling IT to "operate like a business" comes from believing the solution is in the art of how things are done. Pushing stuff like ITIL comes from believing the solution is all down to a science of steps and requirements.

    IT shouldn't act like a business -- it should act like it's in a marriage with the rest of the company.

  • Dec 30th, 2009 @ 1:17pm

    What about those dance moves?

    I believe that kid's choreography was copyrighted by Disney a few years ago... CALL THE LAWYERS!

  • Dec 23rd, 2009 @ 1:25pm

    Nefarious? Well, sorta...

    I agree there's nothing "nefarious" about making money, or finding new ways to make money -- in general.

    But shouldn't making money come from economically useful activities? The money Wall Street is making via high frequency trading (HFT) is not because they're generating new value or durable economic outcomes -- they're just figuring out how to game the system for their own advantage.

    The only "value" created in HFT is keeping competitors out of the marketplace long enough to get a microsecond leg up on a trade. But it gets worse. With that first-mover advantage, they also create the illusion of market momentum and value perception when there's no real basis for it. Stock prices then move because they moved. That's not really new, but now it operates well beyond the level of human perception.

    So making money in this context IS nefarious, at least to me. Because I can't compete in that market and neither can you, no matter how hard we work or how smart we are. The number of companies that get the privilege of "competing" is limited to the number companies that already have control of the system. Furthermore, their actions in this non-market have repercussions that reverberate through virtually every market in the rest of the economy.

    To me, that's fundamentally wrong, in a moral sense. We effectively have a royalty court of self-dealing financiers within a society that defines itself as the "land of equal opportunity." And since it's being done consciously -- with clear understanding of the consequences in advance (if I can see it, you know Goldman Sachs knows full well what's going on) -- then I gotta go with the "nefarious" label.

  • Dec 4th, 2009 @ 3:21am

    Ditto on Salon

    I read Salon way back when, too, and enjoyed it. But once the paywalls started going up, I drifted to Slate. I liked Salon better, but Slate was free and it was clearly growing, changing and improving.

    Today, I never visit Salon and I actually assumed they were out of business. Sad.

  • Sep 8th, 2009 @ 2:35am

    Pick a topic. Any topic.

    It pretty much doesn't matter what topic you pick, journalists don't really do journalism anymore. Which is why the much-ballyhooed "death of journalism" doesn't scare me. It's like the word journalism itself is double-speak -- meaning the opposite of what it purports to be.

    It's nonsense that the public won't respond to good journalism. Sure, there's a sector that will never respond. But look at the reaction to "The Giant Pool of Money," made by a comparatively obscure public radio show (This American Life) with no known economic chops, but who made a complex issue accessible to millions -- and they were rewarded for it with financial support and the chance to do more reporting (Planet Money at NPR).

    People need, and will use, good reporting. But with the bastardization of news by cable television, "journalism" is widely held in disregard, if not outright contempt.

    For example, I was blown away by a NY Times "summary" piece several weeks back on the health care situation. It was thinner than most current newspapers! Pathetic. A waste of time and paper. It was just a skimmed-over compilation of the non-reporting done to date. He said, she said.

    Journalists aren't doing the job. And don't cry to me about not having enough resources. If you're really that much of a journalist, you need to quit working at your corporate media job and strike out on your own. Or at the very least do some real journalism on the side to prove you can, even if you have to pay the bills with your press release regurgitation job.

    Sorry to be so blunt, but if "the press" spent as much time actually reporting as they do bitching about paywalls, we'd have all the information we need for smart health care decisions (even if we wouldn't all agree).

    Ironically, I suspect a true journalistic effort would be rewarded with advertising dollars because it would have an audience. Indeed, anyone doing real journalism today would have virtually no competition.

  • Sep 4th, 2009 @ 7:19pm

    Net neutrality for phones

    I'm surprised you made no mention of the notion of Net Neutrality. It's the same thing, at least to me. Either you are on the net, or you're not and there shouldn't be shades of gray to it or qualifications. Every node on the net must be able to reach every other node (with legitimate traffic) or it's not a real network.

  • Aug 14th, 2009 @ 1:05am

    Moral panic made up by the press

    I'm not sure I agree, broadly, with the notion that sex offender topics/issues are ginned up to the level of moral panic by the press. Politicians routinely use sexual matters to incite unrealistic fears. Yes, the press simply telegraphs the wacky statements, and that's a kind of crime of its own, but I guess I'd rather lay blame at the feet of the instigating politicians first, the press second.

    Unless we're talking about the producers of Dateline -- the Popes of moral panic.