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14 posts from January 2006

Wiley on Fortune List Again

For the second year in a row, my employer, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., has been named to Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For".  I came to Wiley through the Hungry Minds acquisition in 2001, which means I've been a Wiley employee for 4+ years now.  I can honestly say that Wiley is one of the very best companies I've worked for in my career.  The senior executive team is second to none and publishers are given the freedom and encouragement to run their own business as they see fit.

Congratulations to the entire Wiley team for being part of such an outstanding organization.

Digg It

I’ve always been a fan of slashdot, but I was tipped off to Digg not to long ago and I wound up adding it to my list of homepage tabs in Firefox. What’s Digg? As they state on their site, “Digg is a technology news website that combines social bookmarking, blogging, RSS, and non-hierarchical editorial control. With Digg, users submit stories for review, but rather than allow an editor to decide which stories go on the homepage, the users do.” Hooray! That’s pretty much what I mentioned I was looking in my Moving from Print to Digital post last month.

It appears that Digg is growing by leaps and bounds. It’s also getting a lot of press. For example, here’s a story about Digg in today’s Wall Street Journal.

I now find myself doing more Digging than slashdotting. Yes, the risk is there for a bogus story to float to the top, as noted in the WSJ article. But, I love the fact that the items I’m scanning on Digg are the ones that come the most highly recommended by the community, not driven purely by some algorithm or based on advertising revenue potential.

Getting Caught Up

Although I use Bloglines as my RSS aggregator, I often let some of the feeds build up, resulting in a stockpile of unread posts going back many weeks. I finally spent some time reading a lot of the older feeds. Here are a few things I came across that caught my eye:

The Long Tail – A blog by Chris Anderson of Wired magazine. If you didn’t catch the original Long Tail article in Wired, be sure to read it here. The article thoroughly covered the concept, so I’m curious to see what more he can add with the book.

Jon Fine of BusinessWeek writes about how a “content consortium” could “put the screws to Google.” Interesting thinking, but there are two reasons I don’t see this happening. First, it would require all these different companies to work together, putting aside their individual agendas for the benefit of the larger group. Second, and related to the first point, it would also require all these different companies/egos to agree to one set of financial terms. Right. Let me know how that works…

Robert Cringely’s Stop the Presses! offers insight on not just how content is moving from print to online, but the challenge faced by traditional magazines as they deal with a content presentation model that doesn’t allow for us much advertising as print.

Satellite Radio and the RIAA

cnet has an interesting article about the ongoing friction between the various digital radio operations (satellite radio, Internet radio, etc.) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Many of the newer satellite radio devices offer the capability to record individual songs for later playback on the device. It’s no different than time-shifting a television show on a DVR, right? Or is it?…

One person records The Beatles Let It Be on their XM2Go satellite radio and another person downloads the song off iTunes. The first person gets the song “for free” as part of their monthly subscription to XM Radio. The second person pays 99 cents for the song. The iTunes user gets a “certificate” to prove they truly “own” the song, but the reality is both people can play it back anytime they feel like it. As a consumer, I like the satellite radio model; as a publisher, I have to wonder if the RIAA has a legitimate beef.

Sure, it’s always been OK to record songs off the radio under the protection of “fair use.” Digital technologies and devices make it much easier to create high-quality copies than you previously could with a cassette tape, for example. As much as I’d hate to alter the satellite radio financial model, something’s got to give to make this more equitable for the recording artists.

Yahoo Widgets

I posted on this gizmo before Yahoo purchased it, when it was known as Konfabulator. I got carried away with it back then, installing way too many widgets, and wound up bringing my system to its knees. Despite my addiction to the Widgets program, I actually have to use my computer for silly things like forecasting and writing business documents, so I wound up uninstalling it.

I got curious again when Yahoo announced their purchase of Konfabulator, so I reinstalled it as Yahoo Widgets…and I’ve reinstalled and reinstalled and reinstalled. Every time I launch the engine I get a Visual C++ runtime error. I sent Yahoo support a message a couple of weeks ago but no reply. Based on what I’m seeing on the message board, I’m not the only one running into this problem.

I love Yahoo and I hope they’ll get this problem fixed soon. This utility rates extremely high on the cool factor – if you haven’t tried it yourself, do so right now. Let me know if you run into the same runtime error I’m encountering though…