Published Opinion Fractures

Le journalisme est un enfer, un abîme d’iniquités, de mensonges, de trahisons, que l’on ne peut traverser et d’où l’on ne peut sortir pur, que protégé comme Dante par le divin laurier de Virgile.– Honoré de Balzac, Illusions perdues (1843) Not only is journalism hell, it hardly pays anymore either. NiemanLab’s Ken Doctor recently published … Continue reading “Published Opinion Fractures”

Of Manuals & Magazines

Remember the massive printed multi-volume documentation sets for C++ compilers in the good old days? They are long gone, and Andrew Binstock bemoans the general decline of manuals for developer tools. After an abortive attempt to move traditional comprehensive manuals from print to digital formats, documentation has generally shrunk to brief online references – if … Continue reading “Of Manuals & Magazines”

Return of Patronage

Who will pay for intellectual works that are easily copied over the Internet, and why? I think the strongest component will be voluntary payment, a.k.a. patronage, and it’s already much more common than generally admitted. The core distinction is the following: People will pay after “consuming” (listening, reading, watching, playing) a work if they decide … Continue reading “Return of Patronage”

Freemium & Premium on iOS

Stuart Hall conducted an interesting App Store Experiment. He created a fitness aid, 7 Minute Workout, and initially put it on the iOS app store without any fanfare. Version 1.1 added social sharing, and Hall sent out e-mails to ten top review sites – none of which even bothered to install the app. Version 1.2 … Continue reading “Freemium & Premium on iOS”

Twitter, Land of the Bots

A year ago, Barracuda Labs analyzed over 70,000 fake Twitter accounts and found that fake followers are cheap (only $18 per 1000) and plentiful (49k per average buyer). A more recent study by Andrea Stroppa and Carlo De Micheli examined the eight most popular seller services. They estimate there are 20 million fake followers in … Continue reading “Twitter, Land of the Bots”

Microsoft Reorganizes

Microsoft’s share price just plummeted 11% after a disappointing fourth fiscal quarter including a US$ 900 million writedown on unsold Surface RT devices. As Larry Dignan announced his story on Twitter, “Microsoft is really two companies. Consumer sucking wind. Enterprise killing it.” Tim Anderson provides a nice overview table that highlights the stagnation of Microsoft’s … Continue reading “Microsoft Reorganizes”

Cost Overruns in Public Projects

Today we have an entry from the “no surprise to anyone who’s ever read a newspaper” department. Underestimating Costs in Public Works Projects: Error or Lie? by Flyvbjerg, Skamris Holm & Buhl, originally published in 2002, has just been released as a free arXiv download. The authors examined 258 transportation infrastructure projects in 20 countries … Continue reading “Cost Overruns in Public Projects”

Reality Check for Digital Artists

Not long after pop music’s transition from physical recordings to downloads, the latter are giving way to streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify. Consumers love the low monthly fee of $10 or less, but artists only receive about half a cent per play. By comparison, the 7-10 cents they got on a $0.99 iTunes … Continue reading “Reality Check for Digital Artists”

Google Reader Fallout Hits Keep

People won’t shut up about Google’s termination of its essential Reader service. Ed Bott’s Embrace, extend, extinguish documents Google’s successful promotion of Reader as a universal RSS back-end, eventually forcing BlogLines to shut down and NewsGator to abandon its consumer business. The promotion continued until those two significant competitors were defeated, in September 2010. Just … Continue reading “Google Reader Fallout Hits Keep”

Google Reader Shuts Down

First, let’s look at the bright side. Google’s widely covered announcement to shut down Google Reader by the end of June will raise awareness of two important facts that the Internet-using public has been happy to ignore. The first is that “free” is a bad business model, as noted for example in David Crotty’s Perils … Continue reading “Google Reader Shuts Down”