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The biggest threat to newspapers: not online news

Here’s an interesting and thought-provoking tidbit. Pretty much everyone realizes that print newspapers are struggling. The threats to their traditional subscription model are many, as the internet has opened up all kinds of alternative news sources.

It’s probably equally obvious that Craigslist has replaced print classifieds as the go-to for almost everyone. But Craigslist is free. What happened to the revenue newspapers used to get from classified posts? There’s another hit to the news business from the internet.

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http://lifehacker.com/stop-trying-to-keep-up-with-the-joneses-1517336447

Great reminder that lifestyle and spending choices should be primarily influenced by what others choose to do. I found the suggestion at the end of the post to stop watching TV particularly interesting, because I can really see that influence in my own life. There was a time when I watched basically no TV, and watching more commercials later on I realized that those advertisements really can plant little seeds of desire for things we don’t need.

How hard do you think the masterminds behind the weather channel are laughing at the success of their plot to troll the nation with winter storm names? 

I mean naming storms Nemo, Orko and Plato? Nemo sounds like a small friendly orange fish, Orko just sounds stupid or possibly like another fish, the killer whale. And Plato? Does that imply that winter storm Plato will be the ideal winter storm? The perfect storm?

But back to Nemo, the fact that it means “No Man” means that it’s basically the name Ulysses gave to the Cyclops. The original “Finding Nemo” was about Polyphemus. 

Thanks to the NYT for facts and inspiration.

It’s the best of cities, it’s the worst of cities. It’s Seattle.

Seattle is well known for it’s rain and coffee. But Seattle is bi-polar. It’s actually two different cities, one manic, one depressive, but unlike manic-depressive disorder, it never really has the “normal” state in between the two.

Winter Seattle means long nights that start at 4pm. Drizzling rain, street lights, coffee shops. Fatigue jackets, fedoras, suspenders, North Face. Hoodies. Cigarettes.

Listless stares through rain-speckled bus windows. Bus stops that never cease dripping or smelling of mary jane. Plastics garbage bags, ragged blankets, and more ragged lives on the streets.

Coffee, books, and music you’ve probably never heard of.

Damp so pervasive you don’t even own a raincoat because every coat gets wet.

Summer Seattle starts with days so breathtakingly beautiful that you don’t catch your breath all day. The sidewalks almost dry off, and the air smells like a million kinds of blossoming flowers and trees. The sun comes out.

The sun never goes away. 8pm might as well be 2pm. You ignore the fact that you ought to go to bed. It’s never actually hot, but for a few weeks you go out at night without wearing a jacket. You forget what a chance of rain means.

Long evenings overlooking the Puget sound as ferries ferry their way across the water. Not even a breath of air moving. But the temperature is perfect.

Dragging your hand through the water in Lake Union and not being cold. Boats slowly passing through the ship canal.

Bikers everywhere. Staying inside is literally impossible. So no one does. People overflow with energy and exuberance even without a coffeecup in their hand. You realize your friends have another side to their personality you never knew about.

When you’re going for a run at 7pm and the sun doesn’t seem in any danger of setting, you forget the times when you didn’t even see daylight, let alone sunshine for weeks on end.

Now the real Seattle is back. Or one of them. Rain has come.

Facebook is no stranger to privacy scandals, but I kind of wonder if the latest one isn’t just a case of people selectively remembering what they posted. Wishing you’d sent something as a private message doesn’t undo the fact that you posted it on someone’s wall in 2006.

Privacy awareness has come a long way since 2006, and most of us probably posted things we’d never dream of making public now. Nothing showing up for me was originally private, but some of it is pretty amusing.

Update: a small I told you so may be fitting

I’m still not sure I’ve picked a side on the whole e-reader debate. As a confirmed reading addict, I’ve purchased somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 books during 2012 so far. Most of those are physical paper books. 

For the most part I enjoy reading books on paper, but they do come with inconveniences, packing them when traveling can be a challenge, and just one extra thing to carry. And of course they do add up when you buy 30 a year. Pretty soon there won’t be any room in my bedroom. 

I have two major hesitations about ebooks. It’s hard for me to justify paying the $10+ sometimes needed to purchase a digital copy that costs nothing to manufacture when I can get the paperback brand new for $8. I don’t actually have a dedicated e-reader. I read on my iPad on my phone, and it’s great that the titles can be synced back and forth between devices, whichever one I happen to have with me can access the book. 

But an even bigger problem that The Atlantic sheds light on is that you don’t really ever own an e-book. It’s not really yours, it can be taken back at any time. This makes the prospect of censorship seem like a particularly large spectre looming over the intellectual scene. Can the publisher really decide to take away the book if they decide they messed up somehow? 

It’s an issue not limited to books, but spilling over into the realm of music as well. I particularly enjoy the ease of accessing almost any song on Spotify from anywhere I have access to the internet, but still sometimes I feel tempted to download a physical copy of the track just so it’s really “mine”. It’s funny because I don’t own a single compact disc, and so a “physical copy” to me really just means having a file somewhere that I can name and move and delete. It means adding it to the finite scope of my personal collection. 

Perhaps that’s part of what ownership is in the digital era. Picking something out from among the unlimited variety of similar accessible things and putting it in your iTunes, on your Pinterest board, or your Facebook wall. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read a little bit about the few pieces of wood that have a huge impact on the global economy.

 

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