“The Daily” iPad-only newspaper: Courageous risk or wishful thinking?

UPDATE FEB. 2: Apple rejected Sony’s new e-reader app from its app store — a move that makes Murdoch’s lavish investment in The Daily look even riskier…

On Wednesday morning, News Corp. will hold a press event to unveil the first-ever iPad-only newspaper, The Daily. The little that we know about this project raises some pretty big questions, and I suspect that after the announcement most of those questions will remain. Here’s what I’d like to know:

How can this possibly be worth such a massive up-front investment?… Continue reading

Breaking the story box: Al Jazeera uses modular content management for Egypt phone-in updates

Today at the Knight Digital Media Center site, I explained How Al Jazeera is putting audio updates from Egypt online fast.

They’re using ScribbleLive, a modular-oriented content management tool that “plays nice” with content from a variety of sources — social media, MMSed-in photos, blog posts, and — as shown — phoned-in audio updates from Egypt.

See Al Jazeera English, Live Messages from Egypt.

I’ve covered ScribbleLive before. I think it’s a great tool, and I’d like to see more tools like it for venues that cover breaking news. Another good option is Burt Herman’s Storify project.

Great Oakland hangout: CommonWealth Cafe

Shepherd's pie with lamb and arugula, Strongbow cider, and HP sauce. All on offer at a great pub near my place. Nomnomnom!

One thing I really love about Oakland, CA is that there are so many good places to hang out here. One of my favorites is CommonWealth Cafe, at 2882 Telegraph. I just wrote up a review of this pub/eatery on Oakland Local:

CommonWealth Cafe and Pub: Chill out, UK-style

The main reasons why I like CommonWealth:

  • They serve Strongbow Cider (my favorite!) on tap
  • Simple, hearty, inexpensive food
  • Dependable, free wifi and enough outlets for digital nomads
  • Friendly staff and clientele
  • Conversation-friendly noise level
  • Ample bike parking
  • It’s a short bike ride from my home.

Why unlimited smartphone data plans will probably vanish

In my latest CNN Tech mobile blog post, I riffed on the recent mixed signals Verizon and AT&T have been sending about whether they would offer unlimited data plans for the iPhone. But unlimited data plans may not be around long for any smartphone (or tablet, or mifi device, etc.), simply because of the difficulty of managing a growing proliferation of data-hungry mobile devices on wireless broadband networks.

See: Unlimited data for the iPhone? Don’t bet on it long term

Just after I filed that story, I noticed a relevant Jan. 25 post by Kevin Fitchard on Connected Planet:

Will bill shock be the death of tiered data plans, or the other way around?

Some key exerpts… Continue reading

Why apps should be the LAST part of your mobile news strategy

Right now I’m on the BART train to SF, heading to the 2011 Web Conference of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. There, at 1:30 I’m speaking on a panel that, by its title, is about developing mobile apps.

Follow #aanweb on Twitter to see the conference chatter.

My job there is to explain to these general-audience, primarily local and print-centrist venues, why a native smartphone/tablet app should be the LAST part of their mobile strategy.

My main points… Continue reading

Making links work for news: Mobile

As part of my research on mobile strategies for news, I subscribe to text alerts from several news organizations around the country. I do this from a cheap little Samsung Freeform candybar-style feature phone, so I can get a feel for what this experience is like for the vast majority of mobile users.

In general, this has been a pretty mixed experience…

Continue reading

Mobile/social media and politics: Why news organizations should care

Recently the Pew Internet and American Life project published two reports about how Americans are using new digital communication tools to learn about, discuss, and engage in politics — particularly around the Nov. 2010 elections.

I wrote two posts for the Knight Digital Media Center at USC explaining how news organizations can use this information to create more effective ways to engage and grow the audiences for their political coverage — and why they shouldn’t wait for the next election season to do this: