I started this blog a year ago Saturday with the idea it would be a companion to the one I’d been writing for about six years at that point. Since this one was going to be a little more intimate, a little smaller in scope, I was content to just use an off-the-shelf blogging system, without the customization tools that I had with the old one. By and large, it’s served me just fine. But every now and then, I find that I miss something about the old system.
At the moment, it’s the linkdump. My old blog let me set up a sub-blog in the sidebar, where I could post links that I found interesting. If I read, for example, that you can now buy iPod Touch bedsheets, that obviously doesn’t merit a full post on this blog, but there’s no convenient way to post just that link like there was on the old one.
So how do I handle things like the fact that NASA has selected 15 finalists for its patch contest marking the end of the shuttle program? Things like this I might have just e-mailed to interested parties, but I think what I’m going to try doing is hanging out to the links until I have enough to do a post gathering them up together. Kinda like this.
Which gives me a place to say that if you’ve seen Avatar, you really should read this, which is kind of funny.
Theoretically, it also gives me a place to post links like this story about McSweeney’s newspaper project, which should merit some discussion but, since I’ve had the link for almost a month and haven’t done anything with it, apparently I’m not going to say anything about. Ironically, I read that story about an interesting deconstruction of how newspapers could when my coworker Heather sent me a link. The irony was that she wasn’t trying to share this story, she was trying to share a story about the death of Editor & Publisher.
I will say that the McSweeney’s project plays into what I think should be the two main focii of the newspaper industry today — localization and depth. These are the two things newspapers can do better than anyone else, and, taken together, that no one else can do. Stop trying to compete with CNN and the internet. You’ve already lost those battles. It would be like Five Guys or Red Robin deciding they needed to make a cheaper burger than McDonalds. Leave low-quality and fast to the people who do it well.
And while I’m ranting about newspapers, I’m also going to take issue with this story Heather sent me about 10 things you shouldn’t buy in 2010 because they’re obsolete. I agree with it completely about DVDs, which is why I upgraded to Blu-Ray a year ago. No point sinking more money into a format that’s going away. I agree somewhat about landlines, but am not quite ready to make that leap myself. I’m unsure about external hard drives; I need to look into that one some more.
I disagree with them about compact digital cameras. I don’t have one, and don’t need one — I have a DSLR for one end of the spectrum and my iPhone on the other. But I can understand why, for a lot of people, a compact is far more useful than an SLR. I disagree with them about CDs. Sure, digital may be the future. But if a CD is the same price as digital; buy the CD, and make your own digital version. And that way, if you lose the files, or want to listen to the CD in your car, or want to loan it out, you have it. Why would you not buy the CD?
So the fact that they’re wrong about those things makes it easier to not take them seriously about the newspaper. In fact, their own argument belies itself, and reflects the biggest problem people fail to realize about the decline of the newspaper. They point out that you don’t need the newspaper anymore because you can access the same content online. The problem is this, folks — when the newspaper goes away, so does the content. And the day we go online and there’s no more news generated by investigative reporters is going to be a sad one indeed.
On a completely different note, one of my over-Chapman-Mountain friends asked me a while back what they did at the Agribition Center. While I still have no idea, I can now say that apparently the answer includes monster trucks, which will be there Friday and Saturday, but unfortunately not on Sunday! Sunday!! SUNDAY!!!
(I’d originally planned to use this post to do a Weekend-Update-type catch-up, but this is long enough as it is. That’s coming at some point. I will say that I promised one of my readers a depressing entry the other day, and that’s not coming. More on that later.)