Category Archives: internet

Want Internet speed? Go somewhere else.

Sure. Free markets my ampersand . . .

Anxiously awaiting an explanation . . .

. . . 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.

Two things – entirely unconnected

Part the firstest: f*ck iGoogle. (Can anyone recommend another homepage I can customize? I’m on Firefox.)

Part the secondary:

Washington Post? Boston Globe? Jim asked for my opinion. . .

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.

Taking the silly to new heights

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

Same thing.

Why? Because.

 

I confess: I do use facebook

From George Takei, from whence comes all the funny: