Joho the BlogAugust 2007 - Joho the Blog

August 30, 2007

Press credentials

Just because I think it’s sort of interesting, here’s the form Dartmouth wants you to fill out if you want to get press credentials to cover the Democratic presidential debate they’re hosting in September.


The following information must be submitted for each individual for whom you are requesting credentials. Media organizations with multiple reporters must fill out one form for each reporter or staff person. All media attending the Democratic Presidential Candidates Debate at Dartmouth must also present national or state accredited press credentials and a letter on official news organization letterhead and a photo ID to receive their media credentials.

News Organization:
Street Address:
Work Phone:
Cell Phone:
Email Address:

Please indicate the resources you or your news organization will need to cover the Debate. Please be certain to enter the quantity of each item that you will need:

A “work space” is a writing table position with chair and an electric outlet.

“Stand-up locations” are for television only; each position will include
20 amps of power.

Any additional needs or modifications requested by media will be handled individually as requests are received. Please note: media will be charged for work required to meet special requests. Please contact Genevieve Haas at [email protected] for special requests.

__________Work space(s) for print, radio, photo editing (includes FREE wireless access)

__________Work space with telephone line (an additional cost, see “Debate Phone Orders” below)

___________ 4′ x 8′ Spin Room standup locations

____________4′ x 8′ Spin Room standup location with telephone line (an additional cost, see “Debate Phone Orders” below)

____________Outdoor Dartmouth Green live shot locations

____________Outdoor Dartmouth Green live shot location with telephone line (an additional cost, see “Debate Phone Orders” below)

___________ Parking spaces for satellite trucks
___________ Dark corner with lots of power strips (Bloggers only)

Ok, so I added that last one…

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August 29, 2007

Who’s to blame for shoddy Chinese goods?

Angry Chinese Blogger maintains that US companies share the blame for the dangerous goods manufactured for them in China:

…much of the blame for unsafe or low quality products lies squarely with the purchasing policies put in place by Western companies. Policies under which companies sign short term “easy in, easy out” contracts with multiple factories. Allowing them to use the threat of moving to another manufacturer in order demand the lowest possible per unit price, and to chop and change factories at will if one proves unable to meet requirements for unit price and quantity. Thus creating a low security, high competition, environment in which factory owners must compete with each other for thin margin contracts, and in which they feel forced to cut corners, or to infringing regulations, as a way of staying in businesses.

It depends on your concept of responsibility, of course. If you think your responsibility ends with your signature at the bottom of a contract that includes quality standards, then the US firms are relatively blameless. If you think you are responsible for the conditions and temptations your greed — um, competitiveness — predictably establish, then the US firms bear some of the blame. The second point of view is, arguably, the realistic one, especially if the widespread nature of the violations indicate a systemic problem. (Thanks to GlobalVoices for the link.) [Tags: china responsibility globalism realism ]


Google Phone 2 weeks away????

Rediff reports speculation (= rumor + fantasy) that the so-called Gphone is only two weeks away. This fantasy phone (oh please oh please oh please) would presumably be open to developers in a way that the iPhone isn’t.

Yes, I’m rumor mongering. But it made me feel happy for a good eight minutes this morning. [Tags: google iphone apple wifi earthlink ]

And just because every happy rumor has an equal and opposite fact to spoil it, Earthlink has laid off 900 of its 2,000 workers, and seems to be getting out of the muni wifi business.


August 28, 2007

Terry Heaton on Yahoo Consortium

Terry Heaton explains and evaluates in some depth the Yahoo! Consortium deal that has them partnering with 400 local newspapers:

I come away with the conclusion that the newspaper companies get something, but Yahoo! gets more. The gamble that the industry is making is that their piece will be sufficient to justify what they’re giving to Yahoo!, and on that question may rest the future of the industry as a whole. It’s a gamble, because Yahoo! is actually a competitor, so it is a very big question indeed.

That’s just the overall conclusion. Terry makes the details lucid.[Tags: yahoo newspapers terry+heaton media everything_is_miscellaneous ]

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What would Karl Rove have done?

What political genius decided to have Bush announce Gonzales’ resignation at a podium surrealistically plopped in the middle of a huge, empty expanse?

You might as well have posed him next to a duck on crutches [Tags: ]


August 27, 2007


Jeneane wonders how online and real world retailing are linking our desires across the realms.

Watching tweens on Webkinz and Bella Sara, I started wondering how smart companies will find that same sweet spot with adult consumers—a place where real-world point-of-sale drives the online experience.

This sort of borderless transaction is one-way when it comes to information — the article you read in the paper leads you online, but once online you’re unlikely to have to resort back to the real world. Retailers clearly would like two-way relationships. And, as Jeneane says, they’re going to come up with every reason they can to get us get our passports stamped. [Tags: jeneane_sessum marketing retailing business ]

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Shakespeare, Stoppard, Branagh, etc.

Edward Rothstein of the NY Times reviews Shakespeare & Co.’s Antony & Cleopatra alongside their production of Tom Stoppard’s Rough Crossing. I saw both and think Edward works too hard to find a Big Picture analogy between the two. Yes, the Stoppard play cleverly relies on a character mistaking a performance for life, but the play and the characters were too slight to make anything metaphysical of it. And while A&C is obviously about the political and the personal — and, as my sister-in-law Meredith Sue Willis points out, also about the personal struggling to become mythic — I just didn’t believe it. Or much enjoy it.

I blogged about A&C here. Meredith Sue Willis just blogged about Rough Crossing; look for the August 25 post. She’s a poet, novelist, teacher, and a hell of a writer.

I hate to say it, but I also wasn’t bowled over by the new Kenneth Branagh “As You Like It” being shown on HBO.

I’m a big fan of Branagh’s Shakespearean movies, yes, including “Love’s Labour Lost.” But this one was weird, and not because it was set in Japan for no apparent reason. (Oh, there were some nicely framed indoor shots, but I didn’t think it was worth the distraction.) The first hour of this two-hour abbreviated version seems to be setting us up for tragedy. Touchstone — enjoyably played with exuberance by Alfred Molina — is the sole source of levity in this half, making him feel like the clown in a tragedy. Perhaps Branagh was thinking that he needed to deepen the drama so that the romance would be deepened, and the acting is indeed so good that I was touched by the love of the lovers. But the plot contrivance of this play is so outrageous that it can’t really handle much drama. (A boy plays a girl playing a boy playing a girl, although now of course we have a girl playing a girl playing a boy playing a girl.) And Branagh cut much of Rosalind’s part, so we don’t get a sense of her — an odd choice.

Still, there’s lots to like about the production, starting with the acting. Branagh finds a lot in the relationship of Orlando and his brother, Oliver. The play looks great, even though a forest in the UK plays a forest in Japan playing a forest in the UK, so to speak. And we want Branagh to do more Shakespeare plays. So, go out and buy the action figures and eat the Wheaties with Rosalind on the box. [Tags: shakespeare as_you_like_it antony_and_cleopatra reviews kenneth_branagh tom_stoppard rough_crossing hbo meredith_sue_willis ]


August 26, 2007

Contextualizing the news, especially when it’s wrong

This morning if you search Google for “Enron,” the top hit is (the creditors’ recovery page) and the second is the Wikipedia article on Enron. The first listing from is about 45th and it’s a TimesSelect (= pay) page that doesn’t even actually reference Enron. That’s an example of what’s on the mind of the Times’ ombudsman (um, “public editor”) Clark Hoyt when he begins his column. He finds the Times’ “business strategy” of getting “its articles to pop up first in Internet searches” — well, at least not at #45 — responsible for the quandary the Times finds itself in when it comes to the errors in its archive. I don’t quite see it that way.

Hoyt takes as his example an article abot Allen Kraus, who “once led a welfare office praised for its efforts to uncover fraud.” The Times first reported he resigned under pressure after a bribery investigation without including Kraus’ side of the story and later published a more balanced follow-up. Kraus says his boss eventually publicly sided with Kraus’ version. The details don’t matter much, although I must say it’s a relief for a change not to be talking about John Siegenthaler. The point is that Kraus is understandably upset that searches on his name turn up the Times’ faulty story. If that’s all you read, you’d think he’s a crook.

Hoyt then considers several solutions to this problem, seeming to favor the suggestion that the Time expunge faulty articles from its archive.


In fact, the solution is already in place. If you google “allen kraus” (in quotes), the #1 hit is a Times topic page about him that lists first the corrective article and then the faulty one. Perfect! We get the context we need while preserving the record. Topic pages are in fact the Times attempt to move its content up the Google results page. They give us a single, persistent URL that aggregates everything the Times knows about a topic…including what it got wrong.

Jeez, if the Times expunged from its archive every article about Iraq Judith Miller wrote, we’d think the Times slept through the whole run-up to the war. And future researchers would never understand how culpable the Times was for getting us into that miss. Bloggers get this right-er than Hoyt when we use strikethrough font to indicate an error we’ve corrected. We need the full archive.

Topic pages are a great solution to the problem of providing context, as well as advancing the Times’ search engine optimization desires. Removing articles from the record destroys the value of the record. You shouldn’t write history by rewriting the record.

So, rather than setting “time-outs” for articles based on how important the Times’ judges them, which is Hoyt’s suggestion, do more topic pages. And harvest the power of the crowd to create more topic pages and more context. [Tags: nytimes wikipedia newspapers journalism history archives everything_is_miscellaneous ]


August 25, 2007

Victorian scholarship and the miscellaneous

Patrick Leary had a terrific article in Journal of Victorian Culture in 2005 that Alexander Macgillivray just pointed out to me. It’s called “Googling the Victorians,” and the premise is: “Fortuitous electronic connections, and the information that circulates through them, are emerging as hallmarks of humanities scholarship in the digital age. ” He’s got some great examples — tracking down the meaning of an 1858 cartoon’s “Remember the grotto!” caption — to make the point that “What is most striking, and often quite useful, about this sort of fishing expedition is how often the sources in which one finds a ‘hit’ are utterly unexpected.” Here’s another example:

…when searching for additional instances, beyond those I had found in print sources, in which the Saturday Review had
been referred to by its critics’ nickname, the Saturday Reviler. Google instantly
located the phrase in the following: a biographical account of Charles Haddon
Spurgeon, as a favourite epithet of his associates; the short-lived 1872 periodical,
The Ladies; an 1864 book about the contemporary stage magicians the Brothers
Davenport; an appendix, by Richard Burton, to his 1885 edition of Arabian Nights;
and a magazine account of a conversation with Frank Harris about his tenure as
editor in the 1890s.

Leahy goes on:

Such experiences reinforce the
conviction that the very randomness with which much online material has been
placed there, and the undiscriminating quality of the search procedure itself,
gives it an advantage denied to more focused research. It has been often and
rather piously proclaimed (by myself, among others) that googling around the
internet cannot possibly substitute for good old-fashioned library research, and
this is certainly true. But we are perhaps reaching a point in our relationship to
the online world at which it is important to recognize that the reverse is equally
true. No amount of time spent in the library stacks would have suggested to me
that any of those sources would be an especially good place to look for instances
of that particular phrase, and if it had, the likelihood of actually discovering
the phrase in a printed edition of any of them would have been virtually nil.

This is an excellent argument for reversing the current momentum of copyright law. Our culture benefits from having as much of this stuff searchable and available as possible. Since 19th century stuff is generally out of copyright, the Victorian scholars are in good shape, as Leahy notes. But why should our ability to research, learn and understand suddenly come to a galloping halt towards the beginning of the 20th century?

I don’t want to miss another of Leahy’s points: “…the vast reach of online
searching is connecting people, not merely with information, but with one
another, often in the most unexpected and fruitful ways.” [Tags: copyright scholarship google everything_is_miscellaneous ]

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August 24, 2007

Comcast’s got your Net Neutrality right here, buddy!

Comcast users are complaining that they are no longer able to seed their torrents, so that they are unable to use the popular BitTorrent protocol to share large files. It seems that Comcast has decided that it doesn’t like that use of the Internet, so apparently they have simply turned it off.

If true, this is an example of why we need not just Net Neutrality, but Net Neutrality with teeth. [Tags: net_neutrality bittorrent comcast ]


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