No More Washington Post Book World?

Call me old-fashioned, but I think that one of life’s joys is to sit down with a good newspaper.  Though I’m someone who’s spent a career working on web sites, there’s some really special about a quiet morning with a paper.  And some coffee.

A newspaper is easier on the eyes than a glowing screen.  It also offers the chance of serendipity, of stumbling upon some article you never would’ve read, just because you have to turn pages to find the article you’re looking for.  A newspaper is also mostly distraction-free (no videos blaring, no animating ads) which, IMHO, makes reading an article in print a richer and more rewarding experience.  Things I really want to absorb, I need to see on paper.  

Today comes the news (ironically, from The New York Times), that the Washington Post is ending Book World, its Sunday books supplement.  Economic reasons are cited.  I find this hard to believe.  Washington is one of the most literate cities in the country, filled with readers, and writers, too.  Hop on the Metro, visit a coffee shop, stroll through a park and you’ll find scores of people lost in good books.  The city is home to excellent and popular bookstores, like Kramerbooks and Politics and Prose.  With the wide range of books that people in DC read, there’s got to be a need for book reviews. Continue reading “No More Washington Post Book World?”

David Pogue's Three Megatrends

I attended FOSE (a government technology expo in DC) last week and saw David Pogue’s keynote.  He’s the technology columnist for the New York Times.  Here are my notes from the session with the three big “megatrends” Pogue sees with technology plus some interesting links to check out:

1. Phone and Internet will Merge

In the future, you’ll use voice over IP at home with a portable number, $20 month.   “Voice over IP” is using the internet to call people rather than Ma Bell. You might use Grandcentral, which provides a single phone number for all the phones in your life.  One number to rule them all…

Next time you’re looking for a phone number, check out Google 411 instead of dialing information.

Have lots of voice mail?  Try a voice to text service, like Jott, which converts your voicemail to text and emails it to you.

2. A La Carte Video

All TV shows will be available on demand, anytime you want, through iTunes, Hulu or similar services. Even Comcast is creating an on demand video service.

The DVD format war is over.  Blu-ray is the victor.

Movie downloads won’t kill DVD business, not enough people have broadband.  And there are still too many restrictions on downloads.  Why do I only have 24 hours to watch a movie?

People in college and younger do not understand nor recognize copyright.

3. Web 2.0

According to Pogue, we’re still early in this cycle of innovation.  He provided a nice definition of web 2.0, which I’m paraphrasing as, “We the people, providing the content, and connecting with others.”

Blogs are a new channel of communication for government agencies.  After all, Microsoft used blogs to put a face on a faceless org, getting beyond their fear of openness.  It’s not PR, it’s authentic.

Cool examples of web 2.0:

  • TripAdvisor (reviews of hotels and more)
  • Kiva  (microlending)
  • e-petitions  (petition the Prime Minister)
  • whoissick (find out what virus is floating around your neighborhood)

And, at the end of his talk, Pogue amused the audience with a song about the lawsuit-happy RIAA, to the tune of the Village People’s “YMCA”.  Guess you had to be there.