Archive for the ‘Google’ Category

Why Web Newspapers Stink #3

August 12, 2008

Why Online Newspapers Stink #3

Newspapers went on the Web in the 1980s and 90s as HTML versions of the inky originals. Publishers decided that “going interactive” meant allowing readers to post comments on articles and columns. Editors had heard from habitués of The Well, bulletinboards, and chat rooms that nicknames were de rigueur, and use of real names inhibited frankness. They acted accordingly and, after the predictable gush of obscenity, profanity, and racism, some newspapers decided to forgo reader comments.

Other papers must have decided that this segment of online readership was a valuable asset, worthy of promotion on their websites. Some publishers objected to unpaid commercial speech, and demanded that commenters register with email addresses in an attempt to avoid spam, but kept the “tradition” of pseudonyms. Anonymous comments were locked in.


Why Web Newspapers Stink #2

August 11, 2008

Why Web Newspapers Stink #2

Newspapers are losing readers of paper products faster than they gain readers on the Web, since publishers do not understand that the written Web is held together by hypertext. Papers will break page one items on their websites to ensure that the paper gets credit for a scoop, but most editors cannot see the use of online presence beyond that.

Publishers can comprehend stand-alone features like inter-active crossword puzzles or sidebars like photo slide shows, so when they add blogs, most online papers treat those as stand-alone features, chatty little columns unconnected with anything but their own archives. The self-organizing capabilities of Web 2.0 are completely ignored.


New Year’s Blast

January 3, 2008

New Year's Blast

Mike DeBonis of the City Paper blog greets the New Year with the All-New, Google-Map-enabled, 2008 Model Nuclear Blast Simulator (High Yield Detonation Effects Simulator or HYDEsim).


Where in the World is Ron Paul’s Blimp?

December 18, 2007

Where in the World is Ron Paul's Blimp

The Ron Paul Blimp website now has a GPS readout in a Google map-satellite-hybrid format so you can track its stately progress as it wafts through the aether towards a luminescent Libertarian tomorrow.

Or something.

The blimp is still back in Elizabeth City, NC. It apparently sleeps 5 meters off the ground, tethered to a pole, and might make a good weathervane, though a bit ostentatious for my taste.

Image by Mike Licht, still undecided. Carmen Sandiego is leaning towards Obama.

Update: Google DC

November 7, 2007

Google DC

Kudos to DC Government Chief Technology Officer Vivek Kundra. I gave him a hard time just because the “Search” function on the District’s web page was hidden, marked “Please login or register.” Right when the Mayor announced a new partnership with Google to operate that search function, too.

Now there is a nice inviting “What can we help you find?right above the box, and a big “GO” next to it. Good job.


Google DC. Step One: Find Google.

September 28, 2007

Search for SEARCH on the DC web page

DC Government is so proud of its new partnership with Google to operate the search function of the District’s web page. Of course, you have to find the search function first. It is hidden somewhere on the page, unlabeled.  

At least there isn’t advertising on the search function, like there is on DCPS web page search results. Are those ads legal, ethical, or good policy? 

Anyway, DC Government is also proud of the many award-winning functions on its web site, and has piled award-winning function on top of award-winning function until the site is close to unusable – one more award-winning function should do it. 

Message to Chief Technology Officer Vivek Kundra: Get help. There is a Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) at the University of Maryland. Use it.

It’s either that or Vincent Flanders’  Don’t make me do it.