Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thomas Friedman is free at last!

Today was the first time I read one of Thomas Friedman's columns in The New York Times in quite some time. This was the first one that I noticed since The Times tore down their TimesSelect paywall. So, once again, Thomas Friedman is free at last!

BTW, I do happen to agree the central thesis of this latest column entitled "9/11 Is Over" that we need to refocus on who we as a country are rather than letting 9/11 (and politicians exploiting it) define us:

We have got to get our groove back. We need a president who will unite us around a common purpose, not a common enemy. Al Qaeda is about 9/11. We are about 9/12, we are about the Fourth of July — which is why I hope that anyone who runs on the 9/11 platform gets trounced.

In any case, I wonder whose paywall will fall next.

-- Jack Krupansky

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Free Maureen Dowd!

Free NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd!

As in you can now read your column for free even if you don't buy or subscribe to The New York Times.

I get a daily message in my email inbox from The Times with short summaries of major articles and columns and links to view the full articles. The same was true for their columnists, but a while back The Times introduced the TimesSelect program which put selected columnists behind a paywall. Sure, the charge was modest so I could have paid it, but I refused as a matter of principle.

Now, just last week The Times finally saw my reason and abandoned that paywall, saying:

Now, everyone is entitled to our opinions.

Effective September 19, 2007, TimesSelect has ended. Content previously published for TimesSelect is available free to all visitors.

So, now I can once again read what Maureen Dowd has to say about Dubya, Rudy, or whomever or whatever, but the question is whether I would want to. I kind of got used to not reading her, Friedman, Krugman, Brooks, et al. It made my life a little simpler. Well, I guess I'll give it a try, if for no other reason than to celebrate the return of reason to The Times.

Now, if only the Wall Street Journal would take a similar tack. I say "Mr. Murdock, tear down this paywall!" We'll see if he is reading this blog and does what I tell him to, one of these days.

-- Jack Krupansky

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Shel Israel on crappy presentations

I'm an ardent advocate of function over form, so I have to love Shel Israel's "suggestion", which I will call "Shel Israel's Law of Presentations" which I found on a blog post of his:

A crappy presentation with great technology is so much more valuable than a great presentation with crappy technology.

He says "It's all about the product", which is something I wholeheartedly agree with.

Oh, I just found a nit to pick... I would substitute "with" with "of":

A crappy presentation of great technology is so much more valuable than a great presentation of crappy technology.

Hmm... I wonder if I could now claim that it is my "law"!? No, I wouldn't do that.

Oops, I just found another nit... replace "great technology" with "great product or service":

A crappy presentation of a great product or service is so much more valuable than a great presentation of a crappy product or service.

Since, in theory, people don't really need to be concerned with the "technology" that is embedded within the product or service or under the hood.

Maybe now I can get away with calling it my own law?! No, I still won't do it.

One of the things I struggle with is that it would really be nice to have one term that encompasses both products and services. The best I have ever been able to do is "offering", but that just doesn't feel quite right. I certainly do not think "technology" is a reasonable or satisfying umbrella term for the "stuff" that an organization "offers" since technology is the stuff inside and hopefully mostly hidden from view by the industrial design or "presentation."

In any case, I recognize the contribution of Shel's "law."

Oops... yet another nit... should it be called "Shel Israel's Law of Presentations" or "Shel Israel's Law of Crappy Presentations"? I think he should decide. I would opt for the former, but the latter is good for when you are intending to emphasize the crappiness of a presentation.

-- Jack Krupansky

Monday, September 03, 2007

I am now on Facebook

I just added my basic profile to Facebook. I am not so sure that I will actually do very much with Facebook, but at least my name is out there and it is an option.

I am not even sure that getting "friends" on Facebook will do me much good, but at least it is now an option.

I've been on LinkedIn for a couple of years now and although it has never delivered much value to me, but in the past year I am amused that every month or two I get an invite from somebody I haven't had any contact with in quite a few years.

I don't particularly care for this idea of each of these social networking sites maintaining a profile and me having to manually reenter my "data" for each new site. I would rather see a scheme where I can maintain my personal data independent of any vendor and then selectively and dynamically disclose information based on parameters I can control, or basically asking the question "So, who wants to know?" But for now, Web 2.0 seems to be based on the concept of each web site "owning" some random collection of data about me.

For now, I have no "friends" on Facebook. We'll see how long that lasts.

-- Jack Krupansky