The inevitable mid-life birthday reflection post

Me atop Twin Sisters peak yesterday, Estes Park, CO. Geez, I hope it's not ALL downhill from here!... (Click to enlarge)

I’ve always said that my one true goal in life is to be a crotchety old bitch, sitting on the deck of my mountain cabin, a cup of tea or jug of wine and a plate of smoked salmon or trout at my side. I’ll have a shotgun across my knee, ready to cock it at anyone coming down the driveway and yell, “You from the gummint?”

I’m actually not kidding.

I’m not saying I’ll shoot anyone (necessarily), but crotchety old bitches tend to be able to get away with stuff like that, so why not?

The good thing about having this kind of life goal is that simply by continuing to exist, I’m progressing toward it. Today is my 45th birthday, and I’m starting it right — sitting on the deck of my cabin in the Rockies, still shaded by aspen…

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Future of Journalism Webcast: My Twitter Coverage

On Oct. 28, the 100-year-old Christian Science Monitor sent shockwaves through the news business when it announced that in April 2009 it will switch from daily to weekly print publication, and invest more resources in its online operations. (Poynter coverage by Rick Edmonds.)

This set some pretty interesting context for the Future of Journalism panel discussion that the Monitor hosted last night in Boston. This session was webcast live. (Video will be available later today.) I watched it online and covered it via Twitter.

As I always do, I used my amylive account to provide this live coverage to over 200 people who specifically want it. That’s because my volume of live-coverage posts would tend to overwhelm the nearly 1400 people who follow me at agahran.

Several other Twitter users were also covering or discussing this event, including the Monitor, Jeff Cutler, Wayne Sutton, and Dave Poulson. Many of used the hashtag #CSMFOJ to make all of this easier to find.

Here’s my complete Twitter coverage of this event. I’m posting this as an experiment, to see if this kind of archiving helps me or others. What do you think? Please comment at the end — and bear in mind that posting this compilation is very different from the Twitter experience… Continue reading

Newspaper Biz: Evolution Isn’t the End of the World

Rob Lee, via Flickr (CC license)
Some ways of approaching what looks like the end of the world are more constructive than others.

(NOTE: I originally wrote this for Poynter’s E-Media Tidbits. I’m cross-posting it here because I think it might also interest Contentious readers.)

This morning I read in the New York Times a cold litany of everything that’s going demonstrably wrong with the newspaper business. (Found it thanks to Jim Romenesko.) It’s a long, depressing, and familiar list: layoffs, buyouts, papers folding, declining revenues, etc.

A couple of things Richard Pérez Peña wrote in that story caught my attention.

First, “Newspaper executives and analysts say that it could take five to 10 years for the industry’s finances to stabilize and that many of the papers that survive will be smaller and will practice less ambitious journalism.”

Yeah, no kidding. Personally, I’d be surprised if many dailies are left standing after the next 7-10 years, if they don’t make fast, fundamental changes to their revenue strategies. (I touched on this theme yesterday.) I realize this is dire news to people who can’t envision doing anything but working for a traditional newspaper. But on the bright side, for those with flexibility and a bit of business savvy, I think that right now there is more space than ever in the news market for entrepreneurial journalistic ventures.

Why my optimism?…

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One Laptop Per Child: Why Media Folks Should Care

Laptop.org
Don’t know what to do with a computer that looks like this? Don’t worry — you’re not the target market.

Lately I’ve been learning more about, and getting quite intrigued by, the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program. Yesterday I listened to an IT Conversations podcast talk by Michael Evans, VP of corporate development for Redhat, one of the leading producers of Linux and open-source technology. That really tied together for me why this project is so compelling.

Originally I’d thought this project was interesting but rather frivolous. I mean, when millions of kids are dying around the world every year from malnutrition, dirty water, preventable diseases, and toxic environments — let alone the lack of energy and communication infrastructure in many populous parts of the developing world — a laptop sounds a bit like like Disneyland.

But now I think I get it. Here’s what I find so compelling and significant about OLPC…

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Web 3.0: Patchwork Quilt of Viral Online Applications, Says Google CEO

OK, excuse me for delving into buzzwords here, but this is actually potentially important. Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently spoke at the Seoul Digital Forum. Someone asked him about what his vision of “Web 3.0” might be. Here’s his reply:

The bottom line is that he predicts the software we use will not be something packaged that we buy, but rather something we cobble together from modular components available online that get recommended to us by communities. This could have a lot of implications for flexibility, customization, security, and speed.

Makes me think of how I use the Firefox web browser right now. I couldn’t do my work without my Firefox add-ons. And yes, GTDinbox is quickly proving indispensable to me for managing tasks.

Thanks to Amy Webb for the tip.