Monday, April 27, 2009

Not Such Deep Thoughts, Part IV

Old berry has been busy lately and hasn’t had much time for blogging, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped thinking, and while I have a moment to breathe, I thought I’d share a few of those thoughts with you:

Once again, it’s a great time to be a Boston sports fan. The Bruins and Celtics are both in the playoffs, the Sox are cranking it up in a beautiful home stand with the Yankees, and Bill is knee deep in the NFL draft. It just doesn’t get any better then this.

I’m getting a little behind the curve in the yard care department, and although I’m beat down tired, I’m about to jump back into my role as Chauncey Gardener. There’s nothing that clears the mind like working in the yard on a beautiful spring day. Kneeling on the still damp ground while you get your hands dirty scooping wet, black soil around fresh plantings, the warm sun on your back as you commune with nature in a most intimate way, it's perhaps the best therapy money can’t buy.

I love jelly donuts, but they do not hold me in the same high regard.

I know that a lot of people think that printed newspapers have outlived their usefulness and are a dying breed, but I’m not one of them. While it’s true that most information today can be found online, and can also be downloaded to your iPod or Kindle for offline enjoyment, I would miss terribly the “sharing of the Sunday paper” ritual that’s been so much a part of my life. Passing around an e-ink display will just never measure up in the family bonding department. Perhaps a melding of the two technologies would prove both satisfying and profitable: a subscription to the daily news on a reader that included a once a week hard copy on Sundays. I’d certainly buy into that.

That is all.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

What Are You Doing?

I’ve been playing around with Twitter lately, and for me, the jury is still out as to its usefulness.

I really love the whole concept of it. In theory, it’s a great way to stay informed, meet people, and to receive and pump out updates on anything you may be interested in.

In reality, once you start following a few people, there’s so many updates flowing that it becomes hard to follow anyone without a third party app like Tweetdeck. Unless you’re famous, you have to follow to be followed, and I’ve been playing nice, but you reach a point where you’re so inundated by updates from Internet marketers and motivational speakers that it becomes untenable.

I still haven’t decided yet if the whole experiment is worth loading another processor munching, profile saving app on any of my machines, so for now I’ve taken a few baby steps towards streamlining the experience of trying to use Twitter in its plain vanilla form.

First things first: I’ve now seen enough updates from everyone I follow to start weeding them out. If all you do is post about business opportunities, or how I can gain a gazillion followers overnight, you’re gone. If your profile starts with “My mission is to empower and educate you”, gone.

You get the picture. I’ll probably lose a few followers myself, but it will be worth it. Now, what to do with the rest?

This was actually pretty simple. I added a “Twitter Feeds” folder to Google Reader and populated it with the RSS feeds from the Twitter profile page of the people I’m most interested in. I already have the Reader gadget on my iGoogle page, so the ten most recent posts from this small subset of people are always right there. Not as functional or elegant a solution as adding Tweetdeck or Twhirl, but it gets the job done.

If I decide to stick with it, I’ll bite the bullet and download something, but not until I’ve done a little more research. Twitter itself seems a bit unstable, running slow and sometimes disappearing completely. I know these problems are caused by the incredible load on the service at times, but there are other painful little glitches that can’t be blamed on traffic. Sometimes I don’t see updates from people that I follow, unless I drop them and re add them, and sometimes the tabs and the search box work, and sometimes they don’t.

The biggest problem I have with Twitter though, is the question above the update box.

Every time I see that “What are you doing?” caption, I hear the voices of Brad and Chad in my head, and I don’t know if I can deal with that in a long term relationship…

You be the judge:

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Breaking News, Only On 7...

We've lost our minds!

We’re dumping hometown boy Jay Leno’s new show before it even premieres, and plan to give you an hour of news instead. We're also going to simulcast on our sister station, so if you have picture in a picture, you'll be able to get twice the news!

Our new tag line will be “7News, Whether You Want it or Not!”

What the heck are they thinking? People in the Boston area feel a connection to Jay. He’s an Andover boy, after all, and if there’s one market in the country that he’ll get a good share in, at least initially, this is it. Plus, recent polls done by other Boston news outlets prove that viewers are not happy with this move.

Looking beyond what the viewers think, channel 7 already runs a 10pm newscast on their sister station ch56, which is in 3rd place (read last) in the 10pm news slot. They now plan on "simulcasting" the news on both stations at 10. So, that will give us 4 stations running 10pm news, with 2 being mirror images, and no NBC broadcast.

Regardless of whether you like Leno or not, you have to admit that rebroadcasting a poor quality news show on a second channel, at the same time, in the same market, and expanding it from a half hour to an hour and a half, doesn't make a lot of sense. Who are they hoping to attract, and what are they going to do to fill all this time? They're already repeating the same newscast every half hour in their 4 to 6:30 pm time slot, so we’re probably in for more of the same in this later slot. Oh joy.

Either Ansin is completely incompetent, or he's angling for something we’re not seeing yet. Perhaps he wants NBC to let him show Leno on 56 while he moves the news to 7. It’s highly unlikely that NBC would bite on this, as 56 is a CW affiliate, but you never know. Maybe they just want more local commercial time. Money is tight, and sometimes you use whatever lever you can find.

Why this would be more important to Ansin than actually fixing the news broadcast so that it might attract more than just viewers loyal to NBC programming, is beyond me.

Come to think of it, if he were to follow through on his threat, he'd even lose them...