Sure. Free markets my ampersand . . .
. . . for that ACA website clusterf*ck. Official statements aren’t of much use yet, although I expect there will be hearings down the road.
I’m deeply curious about what went into the thinking, and then what went on behind the scenes with the legions of technocrats who built the site. They’re the ones who usually get it right and this time they got it so so wrong.
Most puzzling and bizarre – why does the site block users from browsing unless they register an account? Have the designers never visited a retail website? Shopping comes first, establish an account comes second, sign up (or add to your cart as we know it) is penultimate and finally it’s time to pay up and the transaction is done.
A puzzlement. Soon there will be some in-depth investigative reporting in reputable media outlets on how it went wrong. I look forward to reading those stories.
Part the firstest: f*ck iGoogle. (Can anyone recommend another homepage I can customize? I’m on Firefox.)
Part the secondary:
A beau from my way-back machine (still a friend) asked in an email:
What you think of the sales of the Boston Globe and Washington Post for peanuts on the dollar? How in the hell is Bezos going to make money with the WP? Does he get the rights to the very good Sousa March of the same name?
I’m unqualified when it comes to the Sousa question (there’s a March?), but we all know that Moe do so luv to offer her opinion (I do it for free, so grateful am I for the ‘ask’.)
Here’s how I see it:
It’s a changed world. Big metro dailies need to be reinvented and as for Bezos and The Post, I think he’s the guy to do it. WaPo and the Globe have been shrinking for years like so many others. They’ve lost classified, real estate, and car ads to online. The one thing that isn’t going to happen again is growth – in size, in advertising and eventually in circulation – although the Post and the NYT and WSJ continue to reign supreme in readership because they all excel in an internet proof-product – excellent substantive reporting.
So I think at least with the Post, the goal is to find a revenue stream to support that core product and not fiddle with it. Everything else has to be reinvented. And who better to do it than Bezos who literally invented how to actually make big money online. Since he’s an individual owner – which was the tradition at the Post – I trust him more than a corp looking for quarterly earnings. He’ll support it for quite a while probably.. Just like Murdock has to support the NY Post and the Moonies have to support the Washington Times (daily circulation 83,000 vs WaPo 1.4million).
Metro dailies are today’s horse and buggies. Not surprisingly though, small weekly or bi-weekly local papers are doing very well. Very very well, which is probably why Buffet just bought a bunch of ‘em. Their operating cost are low – no need for out of town bureaus for instance. Or financing investigative reporting. As long as they cover city hall, births, deaths and school pageants, they’ve got it covered. Plus advertising is pretty cheap.
I don’t know much about the Globe except that again, this is a single owner – one already invested in the community. And also, I think that sale is an example of how the NY Times by selling it is sharpening its focus on protecting its flagship paper. They’ve been selling ‘Times Group’ papers for a while.
So I think Bezos can find a way to keep up readership while developing that reliable revenue stream with paid online access. The Times and WSJ are already doing that very successfully. And MOST importantly, he’ll usher the paper into the age of the mobile device because he also understands the future.
And that’s what I think.
A revealing moment in an exchange on Charlie Rose last night. His guests were the Editor and primary reporter from the Guardian there to talk about Snowden and the NSA leaks. At one point, Rose asked the reporter “so do you just call Snowden when you need to ask questions?”. She looked at him as though he were not wearing pants and replied “Um, we just text.” A telling moment.
Then this morning, I saw this:
The Army admitted Thursday to not only restricting access to The Guardian news website at the Presidio of Monterey, as reported in Thursday’s Herald, but Armywide.
Presidio employees said the site had been blocked since The Guardian broke stories on data collection by the National Security Agency
Starting today, we are shifting to a two-tiered service: Everyone can use our basic service, Twttr, but you only get consonants. For five dollars a month, you can use our premium “Twitter” service which also includes vowels.
Newsweek. Newsweek will cease print publication at the end of this year and become all digital. And there will be a pay wall.
We’ve seen this happening with lots of publications of course, but this is really huge. And there will be more to follow I’m sure.
When I worked in magazine publishing, which I did for many years, I did business with a number of the offset plants around the country who also printed Newsweek and Time. They were big companies those printers. No doubt in recent years, fewer plants and fewer personnel have been involved, so the damage won’t be as widespread as it once would have been, but damaging it will be to vendors of all stripes. Even today, Newsweek has been printing a million and a half copies every week.
Good news for the trees though.
First WordPress shut me out of multiple functions, something that’s been building over the last few days. I couldn’t even access the WP help forums and found no solace in outside forums. Deeply frustrated, I turned away and decided to make some calls.
Uh-oh. Dialing yields only a dial tone. I unplug and replug, I reboot, I turn off, I turn on. I change clothes and even re-comb my hair. Nothing. Nada. Sorry. Have a nice day.
So it was on to MagicJack live chat help – for a 53-minute long chat. That’s 53, as in fifty-three. They sent a few updates and did some remote resets. Once again there was much unplugging and replugging and even more rummaging around in Device Managers and such.
But they did it. Those sweet sweet kids in Bangladesh or wherever, fixed it. I am grateful.
So now one thing is fixed, but the WordPress problem sits there, waiting. More tries but it was just hitting a wall.
And yet here I am. Posting - because I decided to try the desktop. And voila! Everything works fine over here!
So the problem is in my laptop somewhere. And it is something beyond my ken. This may require a visit from the good Todd, he who fixes all things.
It is now four hours since I sat at my desk, four lost hours.
I’m going to have a Diet Coke.
This is the image I used in my own ‘tanning lady’ post - back when she was still a story. It turned out to be quite popular on teh google and lo, thus did those seekers-of-wisdom-and-truth come right here, right to Whatever Works. And lo, they left their delicious digital signatures, and lo, they did cause my May site stats to soar and climb to a great big number. (It was an outlier. I know. I know. But still . . . )
So now, as an experiment – only an experiment of course, there is nothing blog-whore-ey about it – I’m re-posting that very picture (or ‘gooble-bait’ as I call it) to see what happens.
I myself see this as important research that must be done, so yup, I am so doing it.
Romney was at an auto company yesterday, speechifying:
“I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy, and . . . the companies got back on their feet . . . So, I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry has come back.”
As liberals gear up the outrage over that one, the push back will be ‘but Gore said he invented the internet’!!! Which, of course, he never said. And what he did say was true.
To wit: as we now know, Gore was one of the first inductees into the Internet Hall of Fame cuz:
[he] was ”Instrumental in helping to create the ‘Information Superhighway,’ Gore was one of the first government officials to recognize that the Internet’s impact could reach beyond academia to fuel educational and economic growth as well.”
Posted in 2012 Elections, economy, History, internet, Politics, Romney
Tagged Al Gore, economy, elections, internet, Politics, Romney
Politico has the story:
Former Veep Al Gore is now getting a bit of credit for his infamous 1999 claim that “I took the initiative in creating the Internet”: He’ll be one of the first inductees into the Internet Hall of Fame
The names were announced Monday at the Internet Society’s Global INET 2012 conference in Geneva, Switzerland, and Gore was placed in the “Global Connectors” category for having “made significant contributions to the global growth and use of the Internet.”
The group’s description of Gore states: “Al Gore, the 45th Vice President of the United States, was a key proponent of sponsoring legislation that funded the expansion of and greater public access to the Internet. Instrumental in helping to create the ‘Information Superhighway,’ Gore was one of the first government officials to recognize that the Internet’s impact could reach beyond academia to fuel educational and economic growth as well.”
Sure sounds to me like he took him some initiative there.
Watch it – you know you want to! Maru is one determined cat, who lives in so clean and uncluttered a house that it makes me wonder if he is really a visitor from the future - where they’ve somehow conquered dust and dirt and grease?
Andrew Sullivan surfed the interwebs tonight so we didn’t have to and gathered this damning round-up of conservative post-debate commentary. Not seeing anything but good news for Romney here:
Rod Dreher thought Romney wiped the floor with Gingrich:
Romney won this debate, and probably Florida, and so the nomination. Newt collapsed, as bullies and blowhards often do when somebody fights back. Santorum auditioned for Romney’s VP, and greatly enhanced his chances. Ron Paul shines on, that crazy diamond [great line].
Will Wilkinson seconds him:
Romney started strong, completely obliterating Newt on immigration and questions about his finances, and then stayed strong. Santorum again turned in an admirably dogged performance, but so what? Romney won the debate and the nomination.
Larison likewise expects a Romney win in Florida:
Romney held off Gingrich, and Gingrich was flailing most of the night. Unless something strange happens in the next few days, Romney should hold his lead in Florida. Santorum may have gained a little, but nowhere near enough to challenge for second place. Paul did a decent job tonight, but Florida is not a good state for him and he’s already looking to the caucus events in February.
There’s much, much more at the link. All of it worth a read if you’re interested in the Florida vote on
Or just read the rest here after the jump.
Posted in 2012 Elections, Blogsphere, Gingrich, internet, Media, Politics, Romney
Tagged elections, Gingrich, news, Politics, Repubican debates, Romney
Me today - if I weren't a girl
. . . connection problems at Comast.net.”
I’ve been unable to access my email this morning. Withdrawal symptoms are appearing.
The laptop (with Outlook) had to check into intensive care yesterday; on this machine, I have to go directly to comcast.net – and I can’t. Are there drugs for this?
And ooohhhh . . . has Comcast been hacked?
UPDATE: Email back. Cable gone. Comcast is screwing with me today.
Take some comfort in this: no matter the political and geo-political upheavals in our world, some things remain unchanged. S0me things are forever.
You may already be familiar with Americans Elect, the group working to put an internet-nominated presidential candidate on the ballot in 50 states. Just visited there to see what names have been submitted to date.
Google Translate will now do your entire website with the simple click of a button. Quite remarkable. Or . . . es un milagro! (h/t mac).
On Wednesday I wrote a post complaining about Verizon and just now I find a comment there from . . . Verizon.
Honest. Go look. Don’t quite know what to make of it.
Your 2012 candidate, conveniently running on both tickets
It could be that it’s too late for real electoral reform in this country but a few things suggest that Americans are still looking to find ways to express their dissatisfaction with the parties. One is Ron Paul – his appeal is in large part because he doesn’t spout a party line. Another is Chris Christie – not for his ideas, but for his candor which has been so lacking in our politics for so long. Even the Tea Party (which may have started as a legitimate independent movement but was quickly co-opted by Americans for Prosperity ) arose out of dissatisfaction with the parties. That movement quickly attracted an ugly element, which will ultimately delegitimize them (even if they’re everyone’s favorite prom date this week).
Grass-roots movements pop up in every election cycle (anyone remember the Natural Law Party?), who tend to make a small splash and then slide back below the waves.
Here’s one that looks promising. It is at least unique and reflects some original thinking. It’s not a protest movement,; these guys want to get right in there and mix it up. I like their idea. We’ve changed the way we nominate and elect national candidates many times over the years and there’s no reason we can’t do it again.
Americans Elect has a plan to host the first ever, nonpartisan, online convention and put the resulting ticket on the ballot in all 50 states, bypassing the two parties. They’re collecting the necessary signatures to get on those ballots and have almost two million already.
This is from the PBS News Hour last week:
Go sign their petition.
Except invent the internet. And computers. And other stuff. And then give the technology to American businesses to launch entirely new industries. Damn gubmint!
From wikipedia, here’s how it came to be:
ENIAC ( /ˈɛni.æk/; Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) was the first general-purpose electronic computer. . . ENIAC was designed to calculate artillery firing tables for the United States Army‘s Ballistic Research Laboratory. When ENIAC was announced in 1946 it was heralded in the press as a “Giant Brain”. It boasted speeds one thousand times faster than electro-mechanical machines, a leap in computing power that no single machine has since matched. This mathematical power, coupled with general-purpose programmability, excited scientists and industrialists. The inventors promoted the spread of these new ideas by teaching a series of lectures on computer architecture.
The ENIAC’s design and construction was financed by the United States Army during World War II. The construction contract was signed on June 5, 1943, and work on the computer began in secret by the University of Pennsylvania‘s Moore School of Electrical Engineering starting the following month under the code name “Project PX”. The completed machine was announced to the public the evening of February 14, 1946 and formally dedicated the next day at the University of Pennsylvania, having cost almost $500,000 (nearly $6 million in 2010, adjusted for inflation).
Like so much Research & Development, it was financed with taxpayer dollars. We used to think that was a good way to spend money.
Posted in computers, Government, History, internet, taxes
Tagged computers, ENIAC, Government investment, internet, Moore School of Electrical Engineering, R & D, taxpayer funded research
Maru! The most famous cat on the intertubes - probably the most famous cat in the world – has his own facebook page here and his own YouTube channel here (with almost 3 million subscribers!). Either place you can find all the videos that made Maru famous; you’ll see Maru eating, napping, running, staring and even refusing to look at the camera. Maru’s charm is that his very ordinariness has made him a star. Maru is us.
Here is a video collage. Watch it and you’ll love the guy too.