Entries from March 2009 ↓

Testing slideshow embed with blogger

The new Kindle…

Must admit, that i did spring for Kindle 2, as much out of a love of technology as a bit of a research project.

Some observations after a week and a half:

  • Great portability. So lightweight and easy to use!
  • Easy to read with.
  • Convenient to buy stuff (actually bought something by accident yesterday, but it was a book i wanted).
  • Nice search function.
  • What’s up with the numbering thing? It’d be nice if there were a way to coordinate with a book’s page numbers for reference purposes.
  • My first book was one i was already reading, and i wanted to compare print vs. Kindle. No photos that were included in this history of the Works Progress Administration! And the page number thing.
  • Reading ahead, i.e., cheating, seems not as convenient as with a real book.
  • The dictionary is great!
  • Easy to look sophisticated while reading borderline trash!

Steven Berlin Johnson offers other insights here.

But mostly, i was interested in news presentation. i subscribed to the Washington Post for two weeks free. Thoughts:

  • Compared to the Web, way too static. Sure it’s more portable than the dead-tree version, but it took a while last Sunday for me to find the great magazine piece by Gene Weingarten. After searching several sections, i found it by searching his name.
  • Not sure some folks know what they’re doing this for. Showed the Kindle to a friend who works for the Austin American-Statesman (on the Web, no less) and she didn’t realize they were on Kindle, and when she flipped through most of the first tier stories were from wires. What purpose does that serve? (This has always been an issue to my way of thinking – folks in newsrooms don’t think enough about how they’re reaching their audiences.)
  • Demographically, i suspect the Kindle reaches the same news audience that prefers print. Often, when my students search out news online, the first thing they do is click on video. None of that on the Kindle. And i question whether my students would be the least bit interested in this device, to read either news or books on. They have computers and iPhones for that.

Speaking of which, my nephew downloaded the iPhone software and his mom found it way too backlit/glaring for good reading. Of course, having just turned 11, this young man had some cash to spare. And after seeing my Kindle last Saturday, had his own by Tuesday. He’s read one full chapter book and is on another. And he likes not having to touch the pages (tactile issues for him)… of course, he’s a total techno-weenie, and i’ll be promoting the heck out of his upcoming iPhone application when it’s on the market!

Over the February fail!

Back to the important stuff: exercise, physical activity, wishing Jane Fonda would come up with a Wii Fit game!!

The fail continued in late February. Here’s the tally:

Feb. 19: Flew to Palm Springs and went for a great two-hour desert hike. Love the desert!
Feb. 20: Rode a bicycle around Palm Springs for a little over an hour.
Feb. 21: Heh, here’s a hilarious one: Walked around a golf course for 3:45 following friends in their cart. i don’t play golf. So i twittered instead.
Feb. 22: Day of fail. Went on a celebrity bus tour, then flew home.
Feb. 23: Climbed at the gym for 90 mintes, a grand time!
Feb. 24: Lifted weights for 45 minutes at the gym.
Feb. 25: Walked for 30 minutes between classes.
Feb. 26: Fail – of a lot of stuff, including my part-time employer, the Rocky Mountain News. Wish i’d made it out in the early morning, before i heard the news.
Feb. 27: another day of fail. and drinking.
Feb. 28: End of the month of fail with a 40 minute roundtrip walk to Proto’s for lunch.
March 1: At least an hour climbing at the gym.
March 2: A 30-minute walk around campus.
March 3: A 30-minute run followed by 20 minutes of strength on Wii Fit.
March 4: Walked from the Armory north on Broadway to Linden, took 38 minutes.

Geez, it’s a good thing Mad is keeping track of all this – she’s the real rockstar here!!

They say it better…

Mike Littwin and Vince Carroll weigh in on U.S. Rep. Jared Polis’ glee at the Rocky going under and his apology “to anyone who was offended.” (Hey, isn’t that a righty tactic – and for those of you who are good with it, well, we’re good with it too!)

Meanwhile, David Bennahum, the president and CEO of Center for Independent Media, which operates Colorado Confidential (now Colorado Independent) called today to say that the center decided to give back Polis’ money once he announced he was entering the primary. That happened in May 2007, according to this post at the political news site. The event i described yesterday occurred in August 2007. i have great respect for David Bennahum, and believe it’s possible he didn’t realize what was going on in Colorado. But the ME of Colorado Confidential told me when repressing a negative post on Polis that she’d discussed it with Bennahum and others in the D.C. headquarters.

Again, the point here, made far better by Littwin and Carroll, is that Polis, a congressman (my congressman, in fact), would prefer a media that tells only his side of the story.

And that’s not journalism, folks.

The left and right continue to gloat…

Let’s see.

Rush Limbaugh says liberal bias caused the Rocky Mountain News to fail. Gee, Vince Carroll, what would you have to say about that?

Then Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Polis says it’s the progressive (aka liberal) blogosphere responsible for the newspaper’s demise.

Each of these – and plenty more out there in the blogosphere – would love nothing better than to preach only to the choir, presenting only their version of the world.

Believe me, i know. i once served as a consultant to a political news Web site funded in part by Polis. The idea was to pay bloggers to report and write more like journalists. But when it came right down to it, there was some news that wasn’t news. Like when a Polis staffer/blogger slammed his two 2nd Congressional District opponents and was forced to resign. The managing editor for the site refused to allow a post on this subject for most of a day because, as she told me, A) Polis helped fund the site and B) the staffer in question was a friend of hers and C) Polis had paid to send the ME, the Polis staffer and others to Yearly Kos (aka Netroots Nation) the weekend before. After much debate among the staff, ME wrote her own brief post (after midnight).

And i resigned from the site. Because i didn’t want to work for a political campaign. i wanted to work for a news site. And suppressing or ignoring the news isn’t what journalism is about.

Sites from the other political perspective also report some stories and ignore others.

But preaching only to the choir certainly helps the cause of folks like Limbaugh and Polis. If traditional journalists aren’t around (in print or on the Web) to offer complete stories, featuring all sides, all the better for the idealogues.

Citizens, too, need to understand that they’re not always getting the complete picture from some – and they need to seek out the truth from less self-serving sources than Rush and Jared.

Some Rocky links with which to ROCK ON!

We definitely ROCK ON here.

And for you baseball buffs wanting more on your Rockies, Inside the Rockies is the place for you.

Meanwhile, former Rockster Jonathon Berlin writes about what he learned at the Rocky, design-wise.

What is lost.

We lose stuff.

A lot of it is small, miniscule. An earring (though i’m still wearing silver hoops i bought on the street in San Francisco some, um, 34 years ago), an address, even the occasional old friend (via Facebook most recently). Once left my cherished Pivetta Ventana hiking boots in a rental car, overhead bin or cab trunk in the early ‘90s. That was tough. And there’s gotta be more than that, but it’s mostly not worth recollecting.

Then there’s the loss that is always recollected, that never leaves. It’s personal.

Here’s my list.

My mom. She died of cancer at 73. That slow death gives the living time to prepare, mentally, for what’s to come. But painful for the one dying. I knew my mom didn’t know me when i showed up in ugly thick-framed black glasses and she didn’t chew me out for it. It wasn’t just that, even at 39, i realized 73 was young to die, but that i still feel i never got close enough to her, asked her the questions i wanted to know the answers to. (But i also know there were questions she just wasn’t going to answer. I didn’t get the open-book persona from her.)

Chris and Catherine. Each of them, there one day, joking around, laughing, then gone the next, in bolts of lightening separated by a few years, a thousand miles and some 14,000 feet in altitude.

The Rocky. Not an individual but a collection of some of the most talented, dedicated and innovative individual journalists i’ve known. Like my mom, you kind of knew the end was near. Unlike her, however, i don’t think the Rocky suffered from a fatal malady. Indeed, corporate suits praised the staff for some of the best journalistic storytelling in the nation. But those guys weren’t in it for good journalism that will keep citizens in a democracy informed about their world. They’re in it for the money. And where the money comes from is the rub that faces journalism today.

The Rocky’s demise isn’t just a tragedy for the journalism community. Rocky Editor John Temple noted in Friday’s talk to the Colorado Press Association that losing 200 workers has an exponential ripple effect. One friend realized she no longer needs a babysitter three days a week. Another will lose the landline. Those are the tiny impacts. Then there are these questions: How will they pay for their children’s college tuition? The mortgage? In this economy, where will they find another job?

The biggest losers, though, are the citizens who will lose a key source of information about their community. What citizen journalist would devote the time and expertise to produce work such as the Pulitzer-Prize winning Final Salute or Beyond the Boom, the 2008 series on Colorado’s oil business or Laura Frank’s Deadly Denial?

I only worked at the Rocky’s presentation desk one or two nights a week since last June. But i had many friends there when i took that part-time job and made many, many more friends.

So this loss is personal, too.