August 18, 2012
by Dave McClintock
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John Battelle’s “Musings on ‘Streams’ and the Future of Magazines”

John Battelle muses on the shift from page-based content (magazines, blogs, and similarly grouped content) to streams of aggregated content.

What’s lost is that experience of consuming one publisher’s meal – instead, we stream a mishmash of snacks.

That “page-based content” experience has value – editing and designing a publication is an art – but getting paid for that is more complex than ever. As Battelle enumerates, digital publishing has brought new complexities: Producing content for different screen sizes and content platforms while creating ads that can piggyback on each format and succeed for advertisers.It’s a daunting challenge, but Battelle is hopeful:

So far, we’ve written off magazines as dying, because we can’t figure out how to replicate their core value proposition in the digital world. But I’ve got a strong sense this is changing. Crazy publishing entrepreneurs, and even the big players in media, will sooner rather than later drive solutions that resolve our current dilemma. We’ll develop ads that travel with content, content management systems that allow us to automatically and natively drive our creations into the big platforms, and sensible business rules with the Big Guys that allow independent, groundbreaking publications to flourish again.

July 19, 2012
by Dave McClintock
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My Review of the IdolPad PLUS – an Android Tablet for Less Than $100

Review of Idolian IdolPad PLUSHere’s an excerpt:

Who wants a tablet this cheap? In theory, plenty of folks. If you absolutely cannot pay $200 for a more advanced slate such as a Google Nexus 7 or an Amazon Kindle Fire, the IdolPad Plus is adequate for watching videos, listening to music, reading e-books, and using some Android apps. At $90 or less, the IdolPad Plus can be a basic media player and e-reader for short commutes, or a great starter tablet for kids or first-time tableteers.

June 21, 2012
by Dave McClintock
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Grammar Is for the Front Office and the Back Office

I have to agree with the managers quoted in Sue Shellenbarger’s June 19, 2012, Wall Street Journal article, “This Embarrasses You and I*” – practicing good grammar in the back office can help ensure that a company’s external communications are boo-boo free.

Internal proposals and communications – especially when pitching a strategy or explaining a decision – need to be as clearly presented as anything a client can see.

It’s part of building a culture that keeps the customer’s needs in mind.

That said, I’m a fan of satirically ungrammatical yet efficiently terse IMs among team mates (i.e., “R u ok w dat?”), depending on how chummy the team is. A fast, funny note can keep a team together and ultimately save time.

Some peg social media and texting as bad influences on today’s speech and writing. I think those technologies are only amplifying misunderstandings that were already there. The roots of those misunderstandings are vast and deep.

More people are writing – and that’s great – but with increased volume, we should expect more errors. Also, the constraints of the technologies themselves – character limits, expectations for speed – invite shortcuts on what some treat as the self-righteous path of good grammar. And let’s separate true errors from texting syntax – it’s a legitimate language (though rarely appropriate for communicating with customers).

As the article mentions, arguments in the office about grammar can be scary when management endorses errors – especially on a deadline. But having a grammar referee can help, whether it’s a style guide or an outside expert.

Grammarians – do you refuse to use texting syntax, even in jest?  In communications with clients, have you been pressured to ignore or impose errors?

Grammatically challenged folks – have you ever wanted to throw a grammarian out the window? Or offered a grammarian your first-born child as a reward for a critical, last-minute edit?

April 14, 2012
by Dave McClintock
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Benchmarks for Estimating Editing Speed – Update

I was happy to hear my article “Benchmarks for Estimating Editing Speed” will be discussed in Heather Severson’s workshop “The Mercenary Writer’s Guide to Setting Fees: How to Bid a Project in 5 Minutes or Less” on Tuesday, April 17, in Tuscon, for The Arizona Chapter of the Editorial Freelancers Association.

Heather was kind enough to list the article as a resource, on her Mercenary Writer blog, too. (Thank you, Heather!) Check it out!

If you’re an editor, please take a look at the article and e-mail me your “personal word processing speed” – how long it takes you to edit at heavy, medium, and light levels of detail.

Here’s a snip from the article:

The trick to estimating is to identify your brain’s preferred rate of word processing – not the optimum, two-espresso brain speed, but something more comfortable and sustainable. Just as you are unique, so must your estimates be unique to your skills and the constraints imposed on you. Once you’ve determined your personal word processing speed, you’ll find it easier to schedule your work when the ideal amount of time your estimate calls for is compressed by an external party’s deadline. Shifting out of heavy-editing mode should become easier for you the more you’ve measured yourself in the other modes.

Photos: Aaron Hobson’s Google Street Views

November 20, 2011 by Dave McClintock | 0 comments

Check out Aaron Hobson’s brilliant portfolio of Google Street View shots taken around the world, in “enchanted and remote lands” typically only seen by locals.  Such a great idea!  http://aaronhobson.com/gsv.html (h/t thenextweb.)

thenextweb:

Check out the full collection of photos on Aaron’s site. (via Photos Taken by Google Street View Cameras)

November 5, 2011
by Dave McClintock
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Fred Lebow and the NYC Marathon: Thinking Big and Scaling Up a Start-Up

Today, on Thirteen (TV, not online), I saw Run for Your Life, the documentary on Fred Lebow, the runner who dreamed big, lived what he loved to do, and created one of the most successful start-ups the City has ever seen: The New York City Marathon.

Most years, we head down to 4th Avenue, in Brooklyn, to watch the marathon, but I had never known its history or thought about what a huge task it must have been to get thousands of runners to cut a 26-mile path through all five boroughs – let alone to get permission and sponsors for it!

Try to see the film, if you can, whether or not you’re an entrepreneur … or a runner.  It will replay on Thirteen at 7:30 a.m. and midnight on Sunday, Nov. 6, 2011. (But don’t forget to set your DVR clock to fall back :o)

Check out my review of the Kobo eReader Touch Edition, on ComputerShopper.com.

Kobo eReader Touch Edition reviewAt $129, the Kobo eReader Touch Edition is $10 cheaper than the Nook Simple Touch and $30 more expensive than the Kindle Touch coming in November. With powerful font controls, a slim/light form factor, and ePub compatibility (allowing it to read the most universal ebook format, available through public libraries), the Kobo remains a compelling alternative (even though it may become less prevalent in the US market following the demise of Borders).