Neko and Tellie
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Just When I Cut the Cord, Cox Pulls Me Back In

In July, connected TV service went dark in the Wilcox household, as we pulled the plug on AT&T U-verse and switched to Cox Internet. That reduced our monthly bill from about $130 to $59.99 exactly; there are no taxes or surcharges applied to the Net. Now Cox tempts with a compelling offer: Add local channels and HBO or STARZ, with no-cost HD set-top box for another $9.99 month. Installation is free, and there is no contract. Price is good for 12 months. Should we?

Cox promises 44 channels, plus either of the premium channels (I want HBO). But, realistically, that means 10, since we only watch HD, plus the “Game of Thrones” channel. We already receive five over the air using a Mohu Leaf 50 HDTV antenna, which I have to review. [Read more]

Newspapers don’t tell the truth under many different, and occasionally innocent, scenarios. Mostly when they don’t know the truth. Or when they quote someone who does not know the truth.

And more and more, when they quote someone who is spinning the truth, shaping it to some preconceived version of a story that is supposed to be somehow better than the truth, omitting details that could be embarrassing.

And finally, when they quote someone who is flat-out lying. There is a lot of spinning and a lot of lying in our times—in politics, in government, in sports and everywhere. It’s gotten to a point where, if you are like me, you no longer believe the first version of anything. It wasn’t always that way.
Ben Bradlee

The former executive editor of the Washington Post died at 93 this week. I regret not seeing this quote before posting my analysis “In News Reporting There Is No Truth, Just Perspective“, because what Ben says so superbly supports some of my argument.

iPads
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Apple’s Too Many iPads Problem

Sarah Perez makes the point before I could (oh lazy me): “Apple announces too many iPads“. That’s the most sensible take on tablets launched last week, and over the weekend copycat stories started posting. Strange thing, there’s nothing new about iPad configuration complexity. The number of base SKUs, while way too many, increases by just two.

I first harped on Apple’s “too many problem”, following iPad mini’s introduction two years ago, observing: “It’s a crowded lineup, with overlapping features and prices not seen from Apple since the early- to mid-1990s”. Crowded is understatement. The mini jacked up the number of basic configurations from eight to 14. However, when looking at all available SKUs, including two colors and carrier-specific models, the number jumped to 54. [Read more]

Ebola Fear
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News Culture of Fear

Over on Google+ today, Chris Sewell posted as an image of a tweet from New York Times columnist Nick Bilton. Nine days ago I wrote about fear, not contagion, being the real threat Ebola poses. Nick’s point is scary itself. Happy Halloween to you, too.

For the supposedly freest country in the world, fear enslaves America, and the news media helps forge the chains. How stupid is that? In the past 12 hours, I have seen two people in my neighborhood wearing full-face masks—the fleshy colored material used to wrap up an injured knee. The masks covered from below chin to eyes. That’s the culture of fear. [Read more]

Blurred
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In News Reporting There Is No Truth, Just Perspective

On Oct. 17, 2014, I received my membership card to the Society of Professional Journalists, which had been on my “maybe join” list for years. What flipped me forward: The organization’s Code of Ethics, which official revision released September 6. I had observed, but not participated in, the process to produce the new guidelines, which, while overreaching, are worthwhile.

However, while the changes contributed to my decision to join SPJ—being a journalist who blogs rather than a blogger—my ethical priorities differ somewhat from the new Code. My book Responsible Reporting: Field Guide for Bloggers, Journalists, and Other Online News Gatherers is all about ethics and how the Internet changes them. The tome makes trust, rather than truth, the news gatherer’s top ethical tenet. [Read more]