The end of media as we know it

The creepy tone of the background music sets the stage for this look back at the demise of traditional media as we know it from the perspective of 2014. Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Friendster and the trend towards personalized and automated filters to help manage information flow pull down the Fourth Estate.

The New York Times becomes a print-only newsletter for the elderly and elite.”

The ending leaves me cold. Watch the developments over at Pegasus News as they build an alternative to this algorithmic nightmare.

Stormy Monday

It started when the cinnamon toast caught fire in the oven and had to be put out with a saucepan of cold water and ended when Tyler told me over dinner that two older kids passed him on the way to lunch and called him a "twerp"

Slow News Day in Japan

I just love the Crime column in the English language Yomiuri. It’s either about some extremely gruesome incident which makes you question how people can be raised to be capable of such things or it’s some totally mundane non-event that makes you feel sorry for the totally bored reporter that had to write the silly thing up.

Today was a good example of the latter.

A bus driver has been fined for stopping on the Hamada Expressway in Chiyodacho, Hiroshima Prefecture, to let a 76-year-old woman get off the bus, it was learned Saturday.

Le Monde invites readers to the conversation

Going one step further than The Guardian newsblog which is open to reader comments, Le Monde has a relationship with Six Apart to host readers’ blogs and invite them to participate in the conversation (full disclosure, I work for Six Apart).

Covered by the site editorsweblog.org, the Editor & Publisher of Le Monde, Stéphane Mazzorato, recently spoke at a conference in Lisbon on the launch of blogs on lemonde.fr saying, “The reader is a partner, not a passive audience.” He went on to talk about the success of blogs for the site mentioning in particular, the success of their NY-based correspondent who posted on the recent US elections,

For example, Corinne Lesne in New York ran a blog during the American election which allowed readers to have additional insights into the process, and to comment on the issues. Ms Lesne posted 62 items in one month of blogging, generating 774 comments from readers and 90,000 visits.

In this new world, the traditional Letters to the Editor are no longer on the second to last page of the first section on the day following. If a reader has a comment on something written, they can post their comments right there and then for all to see. Comments are something to be read in real-time, in context, right under the original post.

Christmas Lights

So we live on a street that’s also known as “Christmas Tree Lane” and while we’re not going to do anything with neon (at least this year) we have gotten our 60 amp cartridge fuses upgraded and made a modest investment in lights in an attempt to strike the right balance between over-the-top kitch and single-wreath-on-the-door austerity.

We know what we were getting into when we moved here (we were warned by our realtor and I think there was something on the disclosure statement) so we actually negotiated with the sellers to leave their lights. The red-faced Santa that you see on the roof is one of the leave-behinds and talking with the previous owner who was back for a visit, it’s known on the block as the “devil Santa” because of his red face. He was rescued out of a dumpster outside Tahoe and has been dragged out each Christmas since then. It’s hard to see in the photo but Dav and I secured it to the roof with a few well-placed nails through his feet (no Christ on the cross symbolism intended) and a leftover rake which, nailed into the peak of the roof, acts as a decent brace. Viewed from the street, ol’ St. Nick looks like he’s about to take a tumble but is still trying to stay jovial about the whole thing.

After plying Doug and Dave Yarrington with Dim Sum, they came by to help with the lights on the tree which, looking at it in the photo, looks like an alien hand. We also inherited that white plastic Christmas tree but I think that’s going to get pitched.

We’re pending on the final touch with is a large sheet of plywood upon which we were inspired (after watching Fahrenheit 9/11 last night) to write something to remind everyone that it’s not all that peaceful out there and that many families are going through the holidays without a loved one because of the war in Iraq. We floated the idea of painting:

“Santa can’t fly to war zones. Pray for Peace.”

but didn’t get much of a rise from anyone. The opportunity seems ripe to get a message across because we’ve heard that as many as 3000 cars drive by each night to take a look at the displays on our lane.

Anyone have any better ideas?

Visitors

dsc02299.JPG

Izumi’s old friends from Guam, Kazumi and Akiko are visiting today on their way back from a tour of Alcatraz. Kazumi lives in Hawaii and is visiting with Akiko for the holidays.

Marqui’s “Blogosphere Program”

Internetnews.com writes that Marqui is paying bloggers ($800/month) to mention their product:

We put no limits on what these paid bloggers can say about Marqui; we only require a badge on their site, a weekly mention of our product and a URL link in the body of their blog.  For their own integrity factor, if they want some sort of disclaimer on their blog, they’re more than welcome to acknowledge that we are paying them to blog with a frame, background, language, etc.

If bloggers paid by Marqui want to do more, whether offering criticism about our products and services or adding their personal endorsement, we welcome it. Criticism is helpful
in our development process and it is always better to be talked about than not.

This of course sparked a lively debate in the blogosphere to which they say:

Complete transparency (sic) is mandatory

The idea of paying bloggers is a controversial one, as it challenges some of the sacred cows of the journalistic publishing business. When we first started talking about this idea, an energetic exchange between people with traditional publishing backgrounds and bloggers erupted on the Web.

If Marqui can support these debates, helping the business community to better understand how to harness the power of the network — which is exactly what our products and services are designed to help them do successfully — we believe our sponsorships will pay huge dividends.

It will be interesting to see how the model will play out for them. It will certainly generate content around their URL and increase the Pagerank of their site over time, then it’s successful. After the hubbub around the ethics of this tactic dies down, they will hopefully get good product feedback this way as well. It’d be great if they provided a list of the 15 bloggers they have chosen as I’d like to read what they are saying about Marqui.

Another fun way to “game” the search engine rankings is what P&G Japan did with their trackback contest. They asked people to post stories about their run ins with tough stains and then trackback to their site for laundry detergent. I think they gave out prizes for every 100th trackback or something but the result was that many websites are now pointing to this page so that it’s become a top ranked page for those searching on tough stains and detergent – exactly what they were after!

Tokyo Storm Drains

This has absolutely nothing to do with media, technology, or finance but hey, it’s the holidays and these images are absolutely stunning. Pointed out by a colleague of mine who has a knack to uncovering all that’s weird and wonderful, these photos of a Tokyo sewer system are nested in a larger site that details the engineering behind a large public works project.

Just goes to show, that well engineered public works projects can be both functional and beautiful.

SuperDeluxe is the Best in Asia

Our friends over at Klein Dytham architecture have made Time Magazine’s Best of Asia list as a cool spot to hang out and catch the pulse of the avant-garde scene in Tokyo. Located in what looks like an old auto body shop in Azabu, SuperDeluxe has turned into the modern day equivalent of a Merry Prankster’s workshop; there’s always something interesting going on.

Hooray and congrats to you all! For a list of the latest events (the planned one anyway) check out the SuperDeluxe website.