Thursday, March 27, 2008

Be careful out there

Update your virus software. Be careful what you download. This might be innocuous, but there's a reason companies have IT people.
At home, you have to be your own IT cop. Don't think you're immune if you have a Mac. The more popular they become, the more likely they are to be targets.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Worth repeating: Alltop for journalism

Repeating an earlier post for a colleague (you know who you are):
Do you want to be able to go to one site and find the stuff being written about journalism in an online world? Want to know what's out there besides Romenesko? Go to Alltop for journalism.
Want to be able to steer reporters to good online sources for information about parenting, education, business, venture capital, whatever? Go to Alltop for everything.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Child care, design and subtraction

Great ideas come out of the SXSW festival in Austin, a tech/music/film event.
Jeffrey Zeldman, an interaction designer, proposes a couple of disparate ideas worth your time.
Zeldman, who Tweeted frequently during the recent conference about missing dinners or events because he was playing with Barbie dolls with his child, throws out the idea of a child-care co-op for future conferences. It's a wonderful idea that can help broaden the diversity of attendance at similar events.
And he concludes the post with links to a couple of videos about design. My favorite part: Michael Lopp of Apple talking about how good design is the taking away of features, not the adding of more gizmos.
The tie between Zeldman's ideas? Usability.
Go there.

Monday, March 17, 2008

State of the News Media: Skills and attitudes

The Project for Excellence in Journalism has released its exhaustive 2008 report.

Couple of quick highlights:


"More than half (55%) of national executives felt their reporters substantially shared their values. Only 30% of reporters feel this way about their top owners and editors. And the gap is even greater between executives and newsroom staff. At the local level, only 23% reporters felt their bosses shared their values, versus 47% of executives and 31% of senior editors who felt this way about their reporters."
--Amy Mitchell and Tom Rosenstiel, commentary on journalists' attitudes.

Top four traditional skills needed for online: 1. ability to learn, 2. research, 3. teamwork and 4. (tie) reporting and photograpy.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Thoughts on Innovation from a Disney exec

CNET asked Chris Heatherly, vice president of technology and innovation, Disney Consumer Products, The Walt Disney Co., how he defined innovation. "I think innovation is understanding people and what they need and giving them the most perfect solution you can to their problem even if they might not know they have it yet."

Heatherly talks about why companies like Apple, Google and Target have succeeded in their industries; why it's imperative to have management that nurtures the innovative spirit; and some examples of what's worked and not worked for Disney. He also discusses which comes first: technology or the art?

(Oh, to be a Disney imagineer and dream up ideas all day long! Talk about creative story telling.)

Some highlights from the piece:
"I think too many people confuse innovation and technology. I have seen a lot of designers try to make a mediocre concept innovative by putting Bluetooth or some other whiz-bang technology du jour in it. That's not innovation. It's cheating. Innovation is about solving problems for people."

"What are the most important areas of innovation in your organization (product, process, IP, marketing, etc.)?
To be a creative company, you have to have a creative core, whatever that means for your company. For Disney, that's people like storytellers, animators, and Imagineers. For a company like Apple, it's designers and engineers. The people at the core of what you do have to be the heart that pumps innovation through the vessels of the organization. ... Pixar is very clear that it is about telling stories and that everyone who is there is there for that purpose. Technology plays a really important role for them. They like to say that 'art challenges technology and technology inspires art.' They don't look at technology as being a second-class citizen to their artists. It's a respected peer. There are lots of other parts of the organization that have to be part of an innovative mission."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

RSS without the RSS

Have a colleague you've been dying to teach RSS? Want them to discover what you've been reading online about journalism?
Now you can forget the RSS and send them to one place.
Yeah, it's overload. Yeah, not everyone's there. But it's an easy way to share stuff with folks who just don't want to go learn that Google Reader thing right now.
Check it out.
My favorite new find there: Celebrity English. Headlines: "Jennifer makes an error in parallelism."