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Ken's blog

The Value Of Journalism Online

Press+ launched its first newspaper affiliate today, Lancaster Online, the web site of Pennsylvania's Lancaster Intelligencer and New Era, based almost entirely on Harmonica's software and project management.

40,000 photographs, two continents, one city, and a mashup

The fifth edition of the AIA Guide To New York City is in bookstores now. I own every edition of this book, and I'm very proud to say that I was involved in the creation of this edition. You may remember me writing about this last year. Co-author Fran Leadon is a close friend of mine from the bluegrass scene, and I designed and built the content management system he used to handle the many thousands of photographs, and took quite a few of the Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights photos myself.

Apples and Aren't You Going to Pay?

My former WSJ colleague Jason Fry, whose Reinventing the Newsroom is a must-read in my world, today discusses Alan Mutter's survey of news publishers and readers, and highlights the headline we've all seen:

Vox Pop

I just launched a small web site for a local coffee shop, Vox Pop. It's a great place on Cortelyou Road in Brooklyn and if you live nearby you should definitely stop by. Books, coffee, and democracy, they say. I'd add "great live music" to the list as well.

But that's not why I'm writing about it here. Nor is the web site especially notable; it's just the standard site you'd expect from any coffee shop. A very simple text-based design (the only kind I really do), with news, events, photos and a menu.

Information Doesn't Want To Be Free, But Chris Anderson's Book Already Is

Information does not "want to be free." The proposition is nonsensical on several levels, and someone as smart as Stewart Brand would never say something so foolish. The fact that he's been so widely misquoted is evidence more that information wants to be persistently misunderstood.

It's to Chris Anderson's credit that his perhaps unfairly mocked Free attempts to correct the record in this respect, although most reviewers don't seem to have read that far. What Brand actually said, at a 1984 conference, was this:

Cloudy Thinking

Harvard law professor Jonathan Zittrain has a column in today's New York Times warning of the "real dangers" of cloud computing. But they aren't "real dangers," at least, not dangers specific to cloud computing. Like many innovation naysayers, he identifies dangers in new systems without acknowledging that most of them already exist in current systems, and gives too much credit to the current systems while unfairly criticizing the new ones.

Web 3.0

My Facebook news feed was cluttered with mockery this week after Walt Mossberg and others at the All Things D conference started throwing the term "Web 3.0" around. Walt defines it as "the thin client, running clean, simple software, against cloud-based data and services," but that doesn't seem to me such an amazing new development, nor am I sure that era is ever really going to arrive. In a world of mashups and digital art, nobody's going to be giving up Photoshop or ProTools anytime soon.

Guiding the AIA

Today's New York Times writes about a drive I took a few weeks ago with the editors of the latest edition of the American Institute of Architects Guide to New York City. The Guide is the definitive reference to architecture in New York City, with a strong editorial voice and a great sense of history.

Kustomized By Harmonica

Back in the 1990s there was a great set of postpunk bands on the Matador label, the most famous of which was probably Mission Of Burma. But there were lots of others, including Kustomized, which combined great originals with inspired covers of everything from "Harlem Nocturne" to Roxy Music. One of the band's members, bassist Bob Moses, now publishes an excellent online music magazine, Smoke Music Archive, and Harmonica just built a minisite for that publication focusing on Kustomized.

Notice Me: Defending the Legal Notice

I woke up this morning to a fascinating discussion about legal notices on NPR's On the Media. It's a bit strange to put "fascinating" and "legal notices" in the same sentence, but those columns of tiny grey type in the back of the newspaper are actually quite important, and Arizona newspaper editor Le Templar made that case convincingly against some excellent questioning by Brooke Gladstone.