Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"The Herald-Sun - Deli will give profits to help Pakistan"

I added a comment to this badly headlined but very important story.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Government Gadfly in Teaneck, N.J., Is Killed" - NYTimes.com

Very sad. She sounds like my kind of person!

"The RL Gang, Childrens Storybook - RalphLauren.com"

This - from a banner ad on the top of the nytimes.com wesbsite - is billed as "The First Shoppable Children's Storybook". Many will hope it is the "Last". Imagine the next ..."The First Shoppable News Story on the Floods in Pakistan".

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

For the Class of 2014, No E-Mail or Wristwatches - Bits Blog - NYTimes.com#more-47951#more-47951#more-47951

The perception that e-mail is declining in importance is an important one. What bothers me about it is the progressive move away from clear writing and communication toward cryptic lines of partial thought.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

American Airlines

A note I sent to American Airlines today:

“Today, I purchased two tickets from AA - one for me and one for my wife to travel from NC to CA and to France and back to NC. Because I was concerned about the connection time for the itinerary that I found - only 35 mins in ORD - I called AA. An international agent said, "don't worry, it's a thru flight and you don't change planes". Relieved, I made the booking. When I called back to check on seat assignments, I was told that this was wrong. 35 mins in December, the day before Christmas, is simply not a reasonable amount of time to make a connection in a very busy airport. We have been switched now to an earlier departure that will be most inconvenient. Despite the misrepresentation upon which I relied, the agent - including a supervisor - neither apologized (until asked) nor offered to rebook us on a flight through Dallas that would have been much closer to our original schedule. It was only when I asked about an earlier ORD flight that one was offered. American should recognize when it makes a mistake, as here, and make the customer "whole" which you have not done, other than waiving the change fee. I believe you should rebook us on the Dallas connection, arriving in San Jose at about 4:30 instead of the flights on which we are now booked. You misrepresented critical information, you should accept your error and make it right. Will you? I was also told by the supervisor that if I appealed his decision on the phone, I might very well have to pay the change fee anyway! End”

"Editorial - The Constitution and the Mosque" - NYTimes.com

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Peter Miller: "The Smart Swarm" (Avery)" - The Diane Rehm Show from WAMU and NPR

I wonder if there is not for newspapers to learn here about their customers.

"The Washington Post Worries About New Rules for Kaplan" - Media Decoder Blog - NYTimes.com

Most newspapers and newspaper companies have not become the knowledge companies that many of us thought they could become. That said, the Washington Post is somewhat of an exception only insofar as it acquired Kaplan a while ago, not really knowing what it would become. It is NOT integrated into the service offerings of the Post. It may, however, be the canary in the mine shaft of the company, however, as it has been allowed to coast along on the strength of Kaplan.

France Asked to Return Money ‘Extorted’ From Haiti - The Lede Blog - NYTimes.com

"Rachael Ray Launches iPhone Food Shopping App" - NYTimes.com

Why is this not being launched by local newspapers as well, or, better yet, a better version of the basic idea that is well suited to people in the market, their need to keep track of what they have and need at the best prices and optional places in which to obtain what they need.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

"The Herald-Sun - It s possible for us to live in harmony"

I started to read this editorial today with the hope that the text would reinforce the headline, but, sadly, it did not. The writer often expresses his strong opinions in this space and, equally sadly, I am not surprised.

This morning, I watched a commentary by Ben STEIN, the often labeled "conservative" commentator, among other things. He talked about how an osprey, I believe, had nested on a bridge that often shook when trains passed over it. (If not trains, then cars...) He marveled at the ability of the bird to focus on the important things.

The important thing about the President's remarks Friday night is that our President has forcefully reinforced a core principle that we need to embrace, and remind ourselves to embrace, every day. It is that we are a land of many different people who think many different thoughts (as is usually the case in comparing my own thinking to that of the writer of the piece in the Herald-Sun), and we are stronger as a country when we not only accept that, but celebrate it.

So I salute this fellow for writing what he thinks, and my ability to write as well, with a different perspective - one that says let us follow the President's lead and focus on the important thing in this discussion. It is - quite simply - our dedication to the principle that we do not discriminate between and among people of different faiths.

Let normal zoning and building regulation handle the matter, but let's applaud the President's "important" point - that there should be no issue here of which religion is practiced in any building otherwise approved. That principle is in the First Amendment to the US Consitution, and it is surely our President's responsibilty to support and defend it whenever and however he can.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

"Obama's support of mosque near Ground Zero draws strong reactions" - The Oval: Tracking the Obama presidency

The President's words on this issue are precisely why I wanted him to be our President, and I only hope that he will speak so well, so clearly, and so decisively on so many other matters that also may not be popular but on which he knows the right thing to do. He should say so, as here, so much more often than he does.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

"Pete Hamill, Print Holdout, Goes Direct to E-Book" - NYTimes.com

This is likely to be a great book and the whole process - because of HAMMILL - will be well worth any price of admission.

This is a non-fiction book that will have a lot of facts in it. I wonder to what extent the publisher and HAMMILL will include useful links for the engaged reader who wants to "do" something, or explore something, while reading or after completing the book? In other words, empower the reader to use what she/he learns to "do" something more that makes the book part of an eternal research project in a way that simply makes it easier to do, and therefore more likely to be done?

OrangeChat - Today in The Chapel Hill News | newsobserver.com blogs

I spent nearly 15 minutes trying to find the story mentioned here about underage drinking. My point is that the newspaper makes it far too hard and I almost gave up. They don't put the story in one database - for the paper serving the community where this happened. Then they give you relevance results on their main page that make no sense to me. Only by searching on date can you get to it. A simple link here would have been so nice, and even if the writer did not have the link at the time he posted it, he could go back and add it later, no? It just seems a question of doing it well or doing it poorly.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Better Days?

This letter from the publisher of the News and Observer in Raleigh, NC strikes me as badly missing the contemporary mark. Instead of talking about how much more valuable the newspaper has become for its customers, this is the story of an enterprise trying to weather a financial storm. For most people, which - do you suppose - is the more important message?

Op-Ed Contributor - Slumdog Tourism - NYTimes.com

Saturday, August 07, 2010

"Patient Money - Demystifying the Emergency Room Bill" - NYTimes.com

I think people ought to be pressing all of these points, even when they have insurance. We need to get patients into a position where they are working to reduce costs, even when someone else is footing the bill.

Friday, August 06, 2010

"The Music-Copyright Enforcers" - NYTimes.com

Newspapers never created this system to protect what they produce. Historians will tell us why.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

"Google and Verizon in Talks on Selling Internet Priority" - NYTimes.com

We saw this coming back in the mid-80s. Now we'll get a chance to see what happens.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Delta - Coments on each flight

One of my goals is to write about each flight I take, noting the things that either might be useful to others or that others might find amusing. On my last trip from Nice to NC a few days ago, I can comment on everything from the entertainment offerings to the passengers around me, not to mention one late flight attendant on the New York to NC leg. I am still thinking about the best format and searching for the time to do this each time!

Monday, August 02, 2010

"For Data, Tug Grows Over Security vs. Privacy" - NYTimes.com

"Lines on Plagiarism Blur for Students in the Digital Age" - NYTimes.com

This is a further reflection of one of the problems that the newspaper business has created for itself. Instead of assiduously defending its copyright in content, newspapers have allowed vast hordes of people to take that content and use it for their own purposes without compensation or control. It started largely with the copy machine and now has expanded geometrically with the the internet.

I don't know if it is too late for newspapers to turn this around, but they show no inclination to do so.