I’m Over Here Now

Obviously, there’s been a slowdown of posts here over the last few months. Posting here is going to probably going to remain slow for and maybe get even slower.

Lately I’ve been posting over at scottadcox.com for the most part. The posts there are shorter, more snarky, and even less on topic. I’ve had less time to write anything lately. And quite honestly, anything I think has been written by someone smarter and more literate than me, so it’s easier to just link to them!

You can head over there and subscribe, or just follow me on Twitter, which is killing blogging. Or maybe you are enjoying the silence. That would make sense too! 🙂

“Libertarian leaning commentary from Knoxville Tennessee” probably won’t be located in Knoxville for too much longer, so now is as good of a time as any to begin the transition.

I still plan on posting here every now and then, but the post you are currently reading is going to remain at the top of the page. Anything new will be posted beneath. This blog and all of its archives will remain indefinitely for posterity and revenue!!!!

GeoCities R.I.P.

Am I the only one who is discreetly wiping a tear from my eye to learn that Yahoo! is shutting down GeoCities?  Back in the day, GeoCities RULED! Honestly, GeoCities hasn’t crossed my mind in years, and I was surprised to read it was pulling this kind of traffic recently:

GeoCities’ traffic has been falling over the past year. According to ComScore, GeoCities unique visitors in the U.S. fell 24 percent in March to 11.5 million unique visitors from 15.1 million in March of 2008. Back in October, 2006, it had 18.9 million uniques.

If you remember the old GeoCities, you can really appreciate how far the web has come in a short period of time with free blogging sites, MySpace, Facebook, etc. It’s kind of sad that the cutting edge concept of allowing everyday people to build an attractive website pioneered by GeoCities has left it so far behind.

What’s next? Yahoo Games?

Big Knoxville Overground Event Tonight!

KO is working on building a micro-enterprise development center at 35 Market Square and is hosting a social mixer there tonight (link to the flyer).

From KnoxViews:

Their proposal, modeled off of the top-ranked San Francisco Renaissance Center, entails using the space as a resource where startups in a variety of industries (specifically companies positioned to bring in the majority of their revenue from outside Tennessee) can grow around a community of other startups, self-employed professionals, and organization representatives that specifically serve the startup community.

If you fall into any of these categories, swing by and check it out! And, as always, there’s the weekly Wednesday open house at the coworking space on Kenesaw where you can meet cool KO people and find out more!

Twestival Knoxville

twestivalKnoxville Overground is promoting Twestival Knoxville this Thursday at Smoky Mountain Brewery at Turkey Creek from 6:00-9:00 pm. This is an international fund raising event for charity: water. Come out and join a bunch of cool people from Twitter (and me) for some fun.

You can RSVP on Facebook or Eventbrite. Or…just show up if you want to!

Even if you can’t make it out, you can help the cause by buying music at Testival.fm. Feel free to grab this little badge thingy and blog about it yourself!!!

Be there, or be at home. On Twitter.

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.

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.  😛

Chrome is Like QuickSilver So Far

Just downloaded Google’s new browser, Chrome.  Wow.  Super fast.  I can’t even type fast enough to keep up.  The only review I can give right now is “fast”.  Hopefully I’ll get some time later to give it a more thorough test drive.  Check back for updates.

Email, Blogging, and Twitter Explained

SVD is documenting his forays into these mediums (where else) on his blog. All of these things mean so many different things to different people. Here’s how I like to describe them…

When I send you an email, it’s the equivalent of me inviting you over to the house for a cup of coffee. We’re sitting at the kitchen table having a conversation. This has a few implications. For instance, “thanks” is not acceptable for an email in its entirety. I wouldn’t invite you over to my house to say “Thanks” and then slam the door in your face would I? Don’t be surprised, however, if I come banging on your door to borrow an egg or some milk though. These are the emails where I ask stupid questions.

When I write something on my blog and people comment, it’s the equivalent of me standing out in my yard and talking to whatever neighbors happen to drop by to talk. I’m lazy, so I’m probably sitting in a chair instead of standing, but you get the idea. Anyone is free to drop by and discuss, even if they don’t live in my ‘hood. This has implications too. For instance, driving by and yelling “F You!” or walking up and trying to sell me Viagra means you’re going to be ignored. Also, my “yard” isn’t as nice or visited by as many passers by as some. See, my yard isn’t near an interstate–it’s more like a gravel road–so there usually aren’t as many people stopping by. On some days, I just sit out there whittling and taking naps all by myself. Other days I just stay inside and nap.  If you stop by, it helps to bring beer.

And Twitter? Twitter is like all of us are piled into a bunch of eighteen wheelers and talking on CBs with antennas so big that the whole world can tune in. Anytime something important happens, it will hit Twitter as fast as news of a Smoky seen setting up a speed trap. Anyone with their ears on will definitely know about it.

Wait, I have a better description for Twitter…

Twitter is like ham radio for people who can get a date.