Metaphor: Bambi

A widdle deer
Vicki Boykis, in an interview with Anna Tarkov

Q: What is your top complaint about the news media?

My general complaints are that the print/tv news media treats the Internet as some disgusting thing under a microscope that it has to handle with kid gloves all while not knowing anything about it (see any mainstream report on Twitter, tumblr, etc, which are always way behind the curve). It’s painful, like watching a baby deer trying to walk for the first time.

Metaphors: Worst environmental disaster in US history and forest for the trees

BP’s booboo
The Tri-City Herald‘s “The inside scoop: What’s new for newspapers?

But what really got us thinking was Pruitt’s reminder of the newsroom’s unique role in democracy.

The internet is great. But it’s a gusher — not unlike the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Once you get it started, there’s just no shutoff valve … and no filter … and no retraction button.

And once it’s on the web, those rumors become a lot more believable for a lot of people. “I read it on the internet” is the new excuse for just about everything.

But buyer beware. It is often impossible to know if anyone has verified the material that’s on the internet or whether anyone is held responsible for rumors, misinformation or outright libel.

An old-growth forest
Michele Mclellan, paraphrased by Vadim Lavrusik in “Newspapers Are Still Dying, But the News Is Not Going Anywhere” on Mashable

Of course, to truly fill the gaps of lost coverage, it will take time. It isn’t going to happen overnight. Perhaps a good analogy is to think of it like a forest, McLellan said. The tall trees are old journalism (newspapers), which will eventually wither and die. But slowly all around us, we’re beginning to see “sprouts” that are quickly growing and starting to get more light (as the tall trees wither around them). That light is coming from recognition that the work they are doing is important and valuable.

via Steve Buttry

Android and iOS, better and right, saying and linking

I find John Gruber, when he’s got the snark dialed up to 11, annoying, grating, vial and egotistical. But that’s only when I disagree with him. I, of course, love it when we’re on the same side.

Gruber seems like a smart guy. His analysis and reporting is usually good. He’s willing to point out the iPhone’s and Apple’s flaws, even if he sees the world of technology from a decidedly pro-Apple perspective. That’s why, as someone who as never owned any Apple device, I continue to read his blog.

But I was surprised to see this in his latest piece, ‘First to Do It’ vs. ‘First to Do It Right’ about the way Apple doesn’t rush features to market:

Here’s the test. Take some normal people, where by “normal” I mean people who have never heard of TechCrunch or Daring Fireball. Give them brand new still-in-the-box iPhone 4’s and HTC Evos. Now ask them to make a video call to one another. With the iPhone 4, they’re going to be able to do it. The only thing that’s technically confusing about FaceTime is that it only works via Wi-Fi (I think many people have little understanding of the difference between Wi-Fi and 3G data — at least insofar as why a feature would work over one but not the other). Otherwise, FaceTime is as easy to use as making a regular voice call.

There are many things in Android that feel like technological demos. (Google Goggles, built into Android starting with 2.1, is a perfect example of this; taking a picture of what you want to search for or add to your contacts is a neat idea, but rarely works well in practice.) And it sounds like Gruber’s right: normal people will be able to figure out FaceTime much, much faster than HTC Evo’s “Android Time.”

But “as easy as making a regular voice call”?

Well, as easy as making a regular voice call to someone with the same model of phone connected to WiFi, sure.

Yes, I’m sure normals can probably figure out how to make a FaceTime call pretty quickly, and they may not need another account. But they still need to make sure the person they want to face call has an iPhone 4 and can connect to WiFi. (While Apple says it wants to make FaceTime an open standard, it hasn’t yet and there are no devices in wide use that can makes these calls, at least until next week when the iPhone 4 is shipped.) That’s not hard, but that’s not “as easy to use as a regular phone call.”

Apple’s implementation does sounds vastly superior to anything Android offers, but it gets sticky when we slap the word “right” in there, as if there is a final, correct way to do things. Is Apple’s implementation of this feature “right” or just “better”? Is Apple’s iOS 4 multitasking done “the right way”or just done a different way? Marco Arment, the lead developer at Tumblr and only developer of Instapaper, has some suggestions for improvements for iOS 4 multitasking. (For what it’s worth, my favorite Android app, the podcast app Listen, allows me to have it update and download new episodes in the background when it’s plugged in and on WiFi.)

How did he declare this the “right” implementation? I might find Gruber’s argument more convincing if he, or anyone else outside of Apple, had used FaceTime for more than the demo time alloted at WWDC, or if he could find something to link to backing up that assertion besides Apple’s own product page. It’s sort of like backing up an assertion that the iPad is actually magical by linking to Apple’s iPad page. I’ve come to expect better from Gruber.

Metaphor: Jumping out of a plane without a parachute

Jumping without a parachute
Dave Winer’s Find an airplane to jump out of

In hindsight, the Times could have and should have been the new distribution system, but they would have had to be nimble to do that, and been willing to accept the feeling of jumping out of a plane with no parachute. They let people in California do that nstead because they were willing to deal with nsecurity. What a silly reason to cede an empire.

Now here’s the good news for the Times. There’s still time.

The electronic system isn’t finished upheaving. There are still planes taking off that you can jump out of but as before there are no parachutes. You could hit the ground. Hard.

Eustace Tilley on Tumblr acts like you would expect

Remember how The New Yorker is on Tumblr? Tumblr is diverse. Some blogs cover politics. Some collect examples of cutting edge Web design. Some blogs have a personal vibe. Some post for lulz. But the ones that work, at least to my mind, remember that Tumblr is a social platform and have an authentic voice.

Back to The New Yorker. One Tumblrer posted a link to The New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” Q. and A. with its bingo-like 4-by-5 grid of illustrated mugs and the line “There is definitely some kind of inappropriate bingo to be played here…” A funny, authentic way to link to the piece.

Those jokers at The New Yorker reblogged and added to hilarity: “Perhaps a game where each correct answer corresponds to the writer’s Q.&A? Click on the image to read Q.&A.’s from each “20 under 40” writer about his or her origins, inspirations, and coming work.”

Yes, as tone deaf as I’d expect Eustace Tilley to be .

Why Tumblr is the best RSS reader

I use Google Reader like most RSS subscribers. But you know what? Tumblr’s better. (Added: I know Tumblr’s not a true RSS reader. Stick with me.) Here are five reasons:

No “unread” counts
I hate watching the number of unread items pile up until it hits “1000+.” Dave Winer thinks that’s the wrong way, too. It bugs me so much, I asked Aardvark for suggestions for a Google Reader-like without the unread count and got the reply “get over it.” Guess what Tumblr doesn’t have? I can start at the most recent and go until I start seeing stuff I’ve already seen or until I’m bored.

Everything gets mixed together
In both Google Reader and Tumblr, I subscribe to a huge range of things: politics, media, technology, funny, interesting, people I know. In Google Reader, even though I don’t have to, I segregate different stuff into different folders. But on Tumblr, that’s not even a possibility. So I’ll get some hilarious 4Chan joke right after photos of pelicans covered in BP’s oil. Believe me, way better than slogging through a bunch of tech blogs.

Commenting is just like blogging
When I pursue my feeds in Google Reader and something pisses me off so much that I am forced to spew Internet-troll rage inspires me to respond, that comment is often buried in Google Reader. But on Tumblr, if I have something to say, I can hit the “reblog” button, write as much or as little as I’d like and publish it to a blog. My blog.

Subscribing isn’t a commitment
Even though it’s not, subscribing to a feed in Google Reader feels like a commitment; suddenly I’ve just added 10 more unread items and a new feed to to categorize and prioritize. But when I land on a Tumblr blog, I almost always subscribe. It’s not going to add a bunch of new unread items to my reader, I don’t have to figure out where it fits in my folder scheme. If the blog becomes bothersome, I can unsubscribe easily.

Everything’s a full feed
I never, ever have to leave Tumblr’s dashboard to read the rest of something, which streamlines my reading a lot.

I’d miss some of Google Reader’s functionality (e-mailing and saving items in Pinboard, for instance), but if I could move all my non-Tumblr feed to my Tumblr dashboard, I think I would.

Metaphors: A prospecting Corvette owner

My Covervette
Sherman Frederick’s Copyright theft: We’re not taking it anymore

It is the protection of that journalism that I want to talk about today.

Look at this way. Say I owned a beautiful 1967 Corvette and kept it parked in my front yard.

And you, being a Corvette enthusiast, saw my Vette from the street. You stopped and stood on the sidewalk admiring it. You liked it so much you called friends and gave them my address in case they also wanted to drive over for a gander.

There’d be nothing wrong with that. I like my ’67 Vette and I keep in the front yard because I like people to see it.

But then, you entered my front yard, climbed into the front seat and drove it away.

I’m absolutely, 100% not OK with that. In fact, I’m calling the police and reporting that you stole my car.

Sherman Frederick’s Copyright theft: We’re not taking it anymore

Well, we at Stephens Media have decided to do something about it. And, I hope other publishers will join me.

We grubstaked and contracted with a company called Righthaven. It’s a local technology company whose only job is to protect copyrighted content. It is our primary hope that Righthaven will stop people from stealing our stuff. It is our secondary hope, if Righthaven shows continued success, that it will find other clients looking for a solution to the theft of copyrighted material.

via Steve Buttry