Monday, August 18, 2008

Cracking the online ad market WILL be the solution

For all the moaning and whining about the end of the world for newspapers, it is this move (and others like it) that will finally start the dollars rolling. My own bias is creating viable online publishing markets in Japan [still] but global sized players able to deliver niche advertising world wide and online will allow worthy publications (and perhaps others) to start delivering on the internet's promise financially.
The key issues remain delivery and measurable results, but this can now be done.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

So, coffee is good, scratch that, great, for me?

I confess, I am a coffee drinker. I've been told I shouldn't drink so much. I've been told it is doing me harm. I've been told it is a diuretic. I've been told it keeps me up at night.
Should I feel guilty?
I drink it anyway. I enjoy coffee. I find it perks me up and gets my brain working, especially in the morning. I've experimented with not drinking coffee. I've cut out coffee in the evening and mostly in the afternoon. I've tried drinking a glass of water for every cup of coffee.
And the results?
Bad, bad moods. Sluggish starts to the day and too many visits to the bathroom.
I grant, though, that speeding the mind up with coffee at night is probably counterproductive if you are planning on sleeping.
And now, here comes an all-encompassing view from the NY Times, "Sorting out coffee's contradictions". [Read it please.]
So, today, I happily drank my morning cup of coffee, and then one more. There may be another article down the road contradicting "coffee's contradictions", but there are enough facts in there and conclusions that match my own to establish to me, and for now, that coffee drinking is by no means bad for me, and certainly could even be good for me.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Babyboomer sensitivity

Depending on how you count it, I am either a babyboomer or a Gen X (or somewhere in between in no man's land) and I suspect the latter is the most accurate label. I was born in the mid 1960s, so all my life (literally) I have trailed the great demographic story of our age -- the babyboomers.

Or I haven't.

As I said, it depends how you count it. I could also be one of the first Gen Xs. Wikipedia says no here, although I have to add Wikipedia's article is tagged as having potentially multiple errors (so, that isn't a huge help).

Besides, such labels are irrelevant. I have happily ignored them for years. But now, for some reason, the airwaves and newspapers seem to have latched on to the 'babyboomer reaches retirement' trend and more recently the 'babyboomers start to die' topic.

But seriously, for someone likely to live longer (all being well) than any of her predecessors, ever, I cannot help but baulk each time I hear / read someone going on about the end of the babyboomers.

For heavens sake, even that generation (and now you know where I really stand) has a hell of a lot of kick left!

OneNote 2007

It is not often I want to rave about a software product and the brickbats might fly for praising a Microsoft product, but I highly recommend Microsoft's OneNote 2007 product.

The marketers tend to target it to students, but the concept behind the product is to provide a one spot forum for researchers. It allows you to catalogue research notes, web clips and web pages, documents, picutres, spreadsheets, print outs, pdfs, audio recordings and video recordings and anything else electronic all in one spot. It also has a handwriting function, for anyone with a tablet. It is also designed to record audio and or video as you type / make notes.

There are a few more innovations I would love to recommend -- that the potential is not fully met tends to frustrate me a tad, but, in this case, Microsoft is well on its way to creating a great product. (Its worthwhile noting, Microsoft's online information databases on this product are somewhat limited.)

The product is a standalone, but its usefulness is supplemented by built-in links to Internet Explorer and Office Outlook, in particular.

Based on my own experience buying the product online, I would suggest you a purchase from a real life store (one which provides a nicely packaged hard copy). Microsoft came good (-ish) in the end, but I had some dramas getting a hard copy of the product (for those just in case situations - which always do happen - when it is necessary to do a complete reinstall).

You can find out more about OneNote 2007 here.


There has been a lot of talk about the WaiWai incident (see here for a summary of the matter) and here for the explanations offered by the Mainichi Shimbun.

I will get into the incident more in my book as it is an excellent example of reporting in Japan, but I read a very noteworthy blog post on it here which I wanted to share. Mr Okumura has done an excellent job providing a fair and balanced portrayal of the real issues.

Further information may be gleaned from a Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan (FCCJ) Number One Shimbun article on the subject here, but I found the piece far more valuable for this statement:

Links to WaiWai stories began to appear on Web sites, forums and blogs around the world, some of whose readers, judging by many of their responses and posts, were seemingly unable or unwilling to recognize that these stories were often nothing more than the product of a tabloid journo’s overactive imagination.

No matter how much of a diet of “those wacky Japanese” stories someone has been weaned on, no matter how much of a Japan-hater someone may be, no matter how detached from reality someone is, could anybody truly believe that Japanese fisherman get oral relief from razor-toothed moray eels? Evidently, some did.
Since I know, personally, just how willing too many members of the FCCJ were (and in some cases still are are) to believe the ravings of overactive imaginations (and to add to them themselves, apparently) I find these paragraphs all too relevant. They have definitely found themselves a place in Spinbound.