Sometime I Wonder About You

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The current poll asks for your Waffle House hash browns order. So far, seven people have voted, but only three have included “scattered” in their options.

Uh…can you get hash browns at Waffle House that aren’t scattered? I could be wrong, but I don’t think so.

Carry on.

Things I Wonder About

Why is a tax credit for home purchases only good for first time home buyers? Wouldn’t making it available to everyone lure even more people into the market?

Doctors, lawyers, engineers, car salesmen, politicians, school teachers, reporters…the list goes on and on.  Is there any profession out there that isn’t loathed by anyone? I’d say firefighters and nurses–maybe. But even librarians irritate me. They walk around pretending Google can’t do their job 1,000,000 times more efficiently than they can.

What is the ratio of right-handed to left-handed pitchers in MLB? It seems like there are just about as many lefties as righties, even though there aren’t nearly as many left-handed people in the general population. The logical conclusion is that there are lots of right-handed people out there with good stuff, or at least the potential to have it. Why don’t I know any of these people?

When we played battleball/dodeball in middle school, why were you out if you hit someone in the head. It’s not like you were trying to hit them in the head. In fact, if you could purposefully hit someone in the head with one of those difficult to throw balls at such a young age, you probably should have been rewarded for your ability.

Mayonnaise–why in the world would anyone eat that on purpose?

If you can answer any of these questions, I’d appreciate it.

Check Out This Cool School Project

Dan over at Backroads Newsroom is hosting a cool project for some high school seniors going to the Inauguration.  They’re updating details of their trip on Twitter, Flickr, Twitpic,etc. and he’s aggregating the updates.

Very cool use of technology and journalism going on as these students document their trip to DC for their community.  I’m also following the students who have sent updates so far on Twitter…@morganesmith, @SColgrove, @tkelliott, @jwrundle, or their hastag– #wcindc.  And here’s their Flickr pool.

Blog Commenters UNITE!

The announcement of this new left-leaning blog made me wonder something…

When left-leaning blogs and websites show advertising, what happens to the money?  I mean, a blog is nothing without its readers, just like a company is nothing without its workforce, right?

Is the money left over after operational costs are paid dispersed evenly amongst the people who comment and the site owners/publishers?  Do they only accept enough advertising revenue to pay the bills for hosting?

Does it seem right that the owner of such a site would profit off the work of the people who leave comments there and provide content and community? And really, it shouldn’t matter how good your comments are or how often you comment, right?

I guess the principle dictate that whoever has been commenting the longest (seniority) should get the most money, even if they don’t leave comments that often any more.

I think people who comment on blogs should unionize.

At least it would get me to stop blogging.  The only thing my commenters are ever going to get here is berated. 😀

Coal Ash Spill Map

My buddy and yours @mr_schwartz has been doing some work with the Tennessee Clean Water Network integrating field data into Google Maps.  He’s done some really cool stuff with the spill in Kingston, plotting not only news, but also the results of water samples at exact lat/longs on this map.

He’s also put up a second map that shows info on the Ocoee Dam release on January 4.

Good example of mashing up information from several different sources and dispersing it to the public!

A Content Generating Machine

NewsTechZilla!!!
NewsTechZilla!!!

Obviously, I’m not talking about me.  I’m talking about Newscoma, who normally writes more before 9 am than I get to read all day.  How lucky am I to get to work on a new project with someone like that?

There’s a lot of buzz in the blogosphere right now about the demise of newspapers and changes in the media.  This “citizen journalism” thing seems to be a little more than just a fad.  It’s leaving a lot of journalists with some choices to make, and it’s a tough row to hoe for some to learn new technology.

So we’re developing a resource to help them along the way, answer questions, and discuss the changes that are occurring in media right before our eyes.  We were even able to persuade Michael Silence to write our first featured article.

NewsTechZilla is where tech (me) and journalism (Newscoma) collide, duke it out, shake hands, exchange barbs, and hug it out for the good of all.

Actually, there’s good stuff theree for everybody, not just journalists.

We just decided to do this a couple of weeks ago, and we’ve been working like mad over the holidays to generate content, work on our site layout, get our feeds up, fix the things I break, etc. and “officially” launch today.  Go over, check it out, SUBSCRIBE (it’s free) and jump into the fray.

The Death of News Stories?

I was running with @Mr_Schwartz the other day, and we were (once again) coming up with solutions to the world’s most difficult problems.  Unfortunately for the world, I’m not doing too much distance these days, so there isn’t enough time to fix every problem.  Nonetheless, the topic of conversation this cold and rainy night was the news.  See, @Mr_Schwartz made a funny comment to this post last week, but in making a joke he also made an excellent point:

Why is is that NO ONE in the popular media has talked about how much this guy looks like Stephen King? You don’t see many of those haircuts out there, and if you do then they aren’t hung on jack o’ lantern sized noggins like this guy. AND he wears track suits??? Awesome!
We have someone that is trying to turn himself into the most stereotypical corrupt politician since the Mayor “diamond” Joe Quimby on The Simpsons.
I need these angles played, media! Do the work, Campbell Brown! You have to earn it…

I’ve been harping on this for a while in a roundabout way.  It’s a little baffling to me that newspapers are continuing to struggle in a market where the appetite for news is insatiable.  Of course, the management of newspapers can lay some of the blame at the feet of bloggers, but the fact that bloggers are beating them at the news game seems like proof to me that the market is thriving.  Is this just a management issue?

I’ve also realized that so many people at the top of the news business (print in particular) are still dealing with old standards that no longer exist. Instead of using the tools available and realizing that there has to be a balance between newsroom/tech crews, there are some local papers that are just seeing the dark at the end of the tunnel.

That’s a scary proposition to me, and I’ll tell you why.  I’m afraid that the death of newspapers is going to be the death of news stories.

Not the death of the dissemination of news facts–I can get those on Twitter.  Actually, I prefer to get them there real time.   Not the death of news analysis–I can get that on countless blogs and cable stations.  Actually, I can just read my own blog for that.

But news stories that are investigated, fact checked, pieced together through multiple interviews and accounts may actually disappear with the newspaper.  I would hate to see that happen.  Anyone with time to hit 140 buttons can tell a lie on Twitter, and blogs are like opinions–everybody’s got one.  But writers who can piece together and accurately tell a story are rare, and a lot of them are working for newspapers…for now.

The good news is, I believe there’s a place for these folks online.  I think the ability to accurately tell a good news story is about as rare on the web right now as it is in newspapers (yeah, ouch).  And I think journalists who are enterprising may utlimately find they are more comfortable and productive working for themselves online instead of working for bosses who just don’t get it.

But that’s just the opinion of a guy behind a keyboard at 7:30 am…not a proven fact, and definitely not researched.  😛

Back by Popular Demand

Actually no demand at all, but I’ve added the poll back onto the site.  I don’t think anyone missed it, or if they did I didn’t hear about it.  But, as Say Uncle says, “Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.”  I think he only says that because “Powered by Spite” was taken.

So please vote on the latest poll.  I’ll switch them out and write really long posts about the results when I get bored and want to change them–every 4 or 5 months or so.

Paying it Forward With a Book

So this is really cool…

I pre-ordered Seth Godin‘s new book Tribes through Amazon. It’s not supposed to come out until October 16th, but I received the book in the mail today. Odd.

Folded inside the book was a letter thanking me for pre-ordering his book on faith. This book, the one I received today, is an advanced copy. I’ll still be receiving the one I ordered when the book is officially released, and Seth would like for me to give that copy to someone in my Tribe, or at least someone I want to be in my Tribe. What a brilliant idea, and what a great way to say thanks.

So it’s up for grabs! You don’t have to put a bone through your nose or get tattoos on your face to be in my Tribe (although you’ll get bonus points), just leave a comment or write a post that links here from your blog letting me know you would like the book. I’ll choose to give it to someone based on nothing more than my own judgment and, of course, spite where applicable.