Great interview with Clay Shirky in the Guardian

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Though I’m a bit nonplussed that the person writing the article (Decca Aitkenhead) admits at the beginning that she’s never heard of him. Which kind of sets alarm bells ringing.

“The final thing I’d say about optimism is this. If we took the loopiest, most moonbeam-addled Californian utopian internet bullshit, and held it up against the most cynical, realpolitik-inflected scepticism, the Californian bullshit would still be a better predictor of the future. Which is to say that, if in 1994 you’d wanted to understand what our lives would be like right now, you’d still be better off reading a single copy of Wired magazine published in that year than all of the sceptical literature published ever since.”

Clay Shirky: ‘Paywall will underperform – the numbers don’t add up’ | Technology | The Guardian.

Steve Jobs at the D8 Conference

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There’s a whole series of short videos here, in which Steve Jobs discusses Apple, technology, the media industry, and how the iPad came into being. It’s all worth a look. He discusses, among other things, the future of journalism, how he’s trying to persuade the media industry to be more aggressive on pricing (“cut prices and go for volume”), and how traditional PC manufacturers are probably going to be hurting as tablet computers like the iPad take over.

Most of the videos are between 3 and 5 minutes. Steve Jobs appears to be thinking on his feet and answering the questions as thoughtfully as he can in the live setting. This is not one of his keynote presentations, but you get to see how charismatic and persuasive he is (his “reality distortion field”) and how passionate he is about certain things.

Apple have recently overtaken Microsoft as the world’s largest tech company by market capitalisation (share price). He dismisses that as “surreal but irrelevant”, but it’s worth pointing out. This is the company that a lot of the rest of the media industry are resting their hopes on.

Steve Jobs | D8 Conference | AllThingsD

iA » WIRED on iPad: Just like a Paper Tiger…

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Here’s an interesting discussion about the new Wired magazine app for the iPad. This is a big deal because Wired is a popular technology title and its audience are all going to be interested in both the magazine and the device it’s being read on. The app has been getting rave reviews from a lot of people, but others have complained about the quantity of ads.

The guys at iA are working on several designs for magazines on iPad, so they kind of know what they’re talking about when they lay into its design: WIRED on iPad: Just like a Paper Tiger….

First, the paper magazine was crammed into the little iPad frame. To compensate for the lack of interactive logic, this pretty package was provided with a fruity navigation. In the end it was spiced with in-app links, plucked with a couple of movies and salted with audio files (”interactive”). Then it was off to marketing. And it sold 24,000 copies. Dammit. It’s the Nineties all over again.

The amazing thing for me is that Wired seem to have done exactly what Apple are encouraging developers not to do: instead of using Apple’s own development tools to create native iPhone and iPad applications, they used Adobe InDesign and rendered their iPad app as flat graphics (PNG files). All of which means that the fonts don’t look crisp, the user can’t control the way things display, and the overall experience is (by some accounts) slightly disappointing (especially for something costing £2.99).

If the iPad’s the answer, what’s the question again? David Hepworth

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David Hepworth sounds a note of caution on the iPad. Yes, everyone wants one, but publishers should be wary of creating expensive content which they can’t sell in enough quantities to turn a profit. We’ve all seem some pretty impressive demos of new magazine apps, but people are also already baulking at the cost of the new iPad version of Wired magazine, which seems shockingly expensive at $5.99. There’s a tendency for people to think that not having to pay for the physical paper, the shop, and the distribution should make things cheaper. But that’s just not true if you’ve replaced all that with expensive and whizzy motion graphics.

Attempting to translate the entire contents of a paper magazine to a screen is certainly a lot of trouble and it’s by no means certain the effort would be worth it. However, there are elements within that content that scream out to be delivered differently, either more frequently or in more depth or via a different carrier. I note that Men’s Health is selling workout apps for the iPhone, apparently with some success. There could be many others like that. Magazines have close enough relationships with their readers and detailed enough knowledge of their passions to be able to come up with them. The early indications are that people may pay for them via their phones.

via If the iPad’s the answer, what’s the question again?: InPublishing.

New Social Networking Site Changing The Way Oh, Christ, Forget It | The Onion

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From The Onion comes this brilliant (and accurate) piece of tech reporting satire….Snip:

Although it recently hit the million-user mark, Foursquare has yet to approach the vast subscriber base of Facebook and Twitter. But that all could change as people become increasingly reliant on the…okay, here, here, let me sum up this whole “news” story for you: Aging, scared newspapermen throw themselves at the latest mobile technology trend in a humiliatingly futile attempt to remain relevant.