Monday, January 29, 2007

Update on Jeff Jarvis

Apologies to Jeff Jarvis for suggesting he has not sent in any copy this week for the long-suffering readers of the print version of the Guardian. I have added a comment to comment-is-free following an article by Jackie Ashley. I suggested it was strange that the print purchasing audience did not get anything from Jeff after Davos last week. It turns out on checking Buzzmachine that there is a link to a Guardian page on YouTube. However I have had another look in the print version as sold in Exeter and there is no sign of it as far as I can tell. It is based on text that was on Buzzmachine earlier so there is no obvious reason why it could only appear in time for late editions. maybe it will turn up next week.

Another post is back to what I take to be the news from Davos for newspapers. "Newspaper global cooling" is a way to describe the situation around print. I had not realised that there is now an International Media Council that will meet again in September and appears to include print and web media. I got confused by the reference to 'Chatham House Rules' into thinking that this was mostly for print media. Somehow the people from web media have repeated something somewhere else maybe. Not sure how this works but my overall impression is that the web media are fairly confident while the print media have had some really significant conference about something they cannot reveal to anyone else.

Maybe Jeff Jarvis should have a quick guide ready just in case there is a sudden shock and a page or two is needed in the main news section.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Guardian hints at business model for web transition

The buildup to an open Davos online was impressive. Jeff Jarvis promoted the "davos07" tag on YouTube. Today's Guardian however only has space for print journalists and Ken Livingstone from the "Comment is Free" pages. Maybe Jeff Jarvis will turn up on Monday.

I did get a response though to a comment on the Alan Rusbridger post after a meeting on newspapers. He stated that although the online part of the Guardian is in profit it would probably need more investment so would go back to losses. Another post hinted at a discussion on the costs involved in building a website while margins on print publishing declined. A problem with both reports was the 'Chatham House Rules' whereby the media folk agreed that they could not be quoted.

By contrast the web discussion seems to have been more open. There are transcripts and podcasts etc.

Arianna Huffington has written that "Taking part in a number of Davos sessions on the state of the media (and sitting in on a number of others) is a bit like watching the characters in a slasher film: Who will be the next one to be gutted and left for dead by the crazed killer (in this case, the new media revolution)?.....Even in the glorious confines of Davos, the fear is palpable. In contrast, the power players of the new media - Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google, Chad Hurley of YouTube, Caterina Flake of Flcker, and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook -- are all smiles."

I think there is a business model for a news organisation to transition to combining with the web. There is a cost for gathering news and then cost and income for both print and web. One problem is that maybe things are now moving more quickly than expected. As stated at We Media lat year, maybe not every news organisation will make the transition.

Although the print media have kept the details vague, I think this Davos discussion is a defining event. Print is now part of something else. Sometime soon the Guardian will start to report this, for example mentioning the web when covering ABC figures on print circulation.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

print culture and the Guardian

I have been encouraged by the discussion around Davos to put a question to alan Rusbridger, copied below.

Later this morning he wrote on a similar topic.

It turns up on a search for "add" and "ocd"

So please join this conversation with similar tags. Maybe this will work.

So far the Comment is Free discussion has not revealed anything specific about the Guardian.


My question is for Alan Rusbridger or anyone from the Guardian who cares to comment. When will the print version of the Guardian explain to the readers what the thinking is about an apparent strategy to transition to the web? At the We Media event last year in London, it was suggested that only some news organisations would make the transition. The Guardian policy seems to be to avoid any reference to this in print that might disturb the paying UK audience while leaking all kinds of rhetoric through Buzzmachine to build an online following for advertisers. The Media section often covers ABC figures on print circulation without any mention of the web activities of the same news organisations. This makes very little sense. There was discussion of including digital editions in the ABC numbers but not much has happened. Why is this?

Apparently the Davos discussion on Digital Futures is under "Chatham House rules" so the blogging public are not much the wiser. However, Richard Sambrook repeated something that may have come from somewhere...

...a neat way of differentiating journalists and bloggers. "Bloggers suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, journalists suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder." In other words, journalists report and move on and don't always follow up. Bloggers are obsessive, get hold of an issue and won't let go....

So these questions will come up again.

Meanwhile why not offer Jeff Jarvis a page on a Saturday somewhere near the main editorial to summarise what has previously been hidden away?


Monday, January 08, 2007

Look out for XPS printers, starting with consumers

It is just possible that the Adobe take on XML has something to do with Vista. I am not suggesting Microsoft is convincing entirely on support for open source, but the possibility seems to be there to work from XML to hard copy. It seems really strange that Adobe have not promoted Mars more widely or released it as part of Acrobat 8, launched not that long ago.

Google News searches show Global Graphics with a very low profile. However there is a hint on CNET that XPS printers will appear at the Consumer Electronics Show this week. In November Global Graphics "announced it has signed a contract with HP for the provision of certain printing technologies, which Global Graphics considers to be a major contract. In accordance with applicable contractual provisions, specific terms of the contract shall not be disclosed."

More will become clear at some point, presumably. As printers become available that work with XPS there will be more debate about XML and PDF. Whether someting is open source is something that can be tested.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Adobe tests Acrobat switch to SVG

Looking at things again in a new year it seems ever more likely that Mars is a major development that should get a lot more attention. I am thinking of writing a story for OhmyNews with the headline suggested as the heading for this post. The editors often change this and they may not accept a story at this time as I don't have enough detailed information.

Mars is mostly SVG for display, and XML for context. I found an excellent Shockwave file on one of the FLEX sites. See post. seems to be written by zee.yang. My question is why it is a FLEX site that has this explanation of Mars that makes more sense than anything else. Maybe Adobe energy is such that more people think about Flex to start with.

Anyway, I have followed the advice in the video and opened a Mars file in WinZip (any zip software will do). There is a directory for pages and a subdirectory for each page. Most of the content seems to be in a SVG file.

So this seems to be pretty much the direction discussed at Seybold Amsterdam and other places. The SVG is static but it can load ok in an SVG viewer.

So why is the Mars launch so limited? My own opinion is that the Connect push for video subscriptions may not work out. The XML and SVG aspects are much more interesting for the people who already use PDF.

Maybe Adobe are just testing this to see what interest there is.

If it stays with standard XML and SVG there are ways to connect with open source. My impression is that open source is mentioned alongside Flex but not so often with LiveCycle. Maybe Mars has too much potential for XML fans and the current products are expected to continue for a while longer.

If Adobe stated clearly that converting in Acrobat 8 to Mars effectively turns Acrobat into an SVG viewer, would this effect the perception of Flash for mobiles? Mars SVG is static but presumably if SVG got a boost then the animated potential would still be there.

Any other comments welcome.