Category: Other

The Sinking of the Titanics of Newsprint

? Pay Walls:

“The fundamental problem facing the news industry is simple: As the shift from print to the web accelerates, their revenues are no longer covering the cost of their operations. It’s not that they aren’t making money online, it’s that they aren’t making enough to cover their operations.

The potential solutions are, at a fundamental level, obvious: (a) generate more revenue from the web; (b) cut operating costs; or (c) both. Small measures will not do the job. And things are getting worse as more readers shift from print to the web.”

As usual, Gruber is dead-on right [1]. At Want Ad, we took down the online pay wall too late. Once we did, web traffic took off and we needed to have a way to generate additional revenue from that traffic. We didn’t do that quick enough either. The David Simon essay he links to has one piece right – act quickly. But putting up an obstacle to getting to your product? Wrong action.

Figure out how to make ends meet with the traffic you get. Figure out how to increase your traffic. Figure out how to get more money for the traffic you get. Whatever you do, don’t make it more difficult for people to get to your content.

[1] Well, except for being a New York fan.

Update: More discussion of the same subject at MetaFilter, which is interesting as they are actually a closer model to what I believe the papers need – pay-to-contribute, small staff, open access to content. They don’t have ads for people who paid for an account.

Cleanup on aisle 9

Now that the highway stuff has been moved over to northeasthighways.com (at least, the stuff I’m still interested in), it’s time to purge the crud out of this site.

Gone are the posts about how I’m redesigning the site again…whether it’s the layout or how I’m working hard on doing something or other. No one cares about that. Right behind them are the uncommented links to other sites that came from Del.icio.us. If you want to know what sites I think are worth remembering, just go to del.icio.us. Maybe at some point I’ll hack up some kind of RSS feed from there into a page here. It’ll only work occasionally, and I’ll forget it exists and it’ll lie there broken for 6 months. Which is fine because that’s about how often I post to del.icio.us. (And yes, I’m aware Yahoo owns it and has taken away its dots. Don’t care.) And all the other posts that don’t really seem to matter to me two years later? Gone too.

What’s left is the kind of stuff I’ll post here in the future. It’ll still probably be about every 3 months (which is better) but you’ll see the stuff I do via the lifestream thing off to the right there. (And if someone can explain to me using small words how to get my Facebook updates & postings there, that would be awesome. I’m getting real annoyed with Facebook’s assertion of control over stuff I generate.)

End Stages of the content shift

The Mass Route Log move is complete – there shouldn’t be anything going on with the pages on neilbert.com anymore and they’ll probably go away in the coming weeks.

The photos have all been moved from Flickr into the new site – about half are up and tagged now and the other half should be done soon.

That really only leaves the exit lists, which I’m struggling to wrap my head around the CSS within the CMS and how to put tables in that don’t cause exit 47 to appear way out in the middle of nowhere. Funny thing is, I know they’re pretty outdated but they have a special place for me since that’s really where this whole site started. I might at least go through and clean them up a little after I struggle with the stylesheets.

Then, what’s going here? I plan to make neilbert.com about the things I think are interesting. Right now, I’m playing with twitter (@neil_), Facebook, LinkedIn and tying them all together so I can easily update them in combination or individually… then figure out why I would want to do that afterwards (right now, “because I can” is enough justification for me.) This will probably mean neilbert.com will be more a series of posts of whatever happens to interest me at the time, links to whatever I’m reading, bits of geekery I’m trying out, etc.

I still don’t know what to do with insurgia.com. Someday.

Old Folks: Yes, everyone is out to get you.

A few days ago, a manhole explosion in Boston cut power to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, which caused their main server to go down, which in turn caused them to close all their branch offices for the day.

The Worcester Telegram & Gazette ran this story. The highlight for me was this line:

David Brodeur of Southbridge said the closing was another example of how “the elderly are always getting the short end of the stick.”

Right. The Registry must have known that old folks always come out Mondays, so they called up their friends at NStar, asked them to knock out the server for the day, just for the sake of screwing over old people.

Kitty Talk

We have three cats. Cheshire, George and Sunny.

We were talking about what they would say if they could talk. We decided that Cheshire refers to us as “bitch” and “bastard,” as in “Fill my food bowl, bastard.” George… well, George has the mouth of a sailor. “George,” we’d say. “Fuck you” would be the response. Sunny, being the kitten (8 months old) is more of a “whatchya doin guys? huh? huh? whatchya doin’? can I come? wanna play? ” at which point George would swat at her and say “Fuck off.”

Cheshire also wouldn’t refer to the other cats by name – they would be “the other one” (George) and “the little thing” (Sunny).