Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

The future of journalism: ‘Oh shit!!’

There’s a scene in The Wire where Omar, a psychopath with a shotgun whose trade is robbing drug dealers, gets into a drug stash house he intends to rob by disguising himself as an old lady in a wheelchair. Once he pulls off his wig and pulls his weapon from under the lap blanket, one of the guards realizes what’s happening and blurts out, “Oh shit!” And Omar gleefully echoes him: “‘Oh shit!!’ Yeah!”

Somehow that’s what came to mind when I saw this announcement of a program at City Arts and Lectures on the future of journalism. Why, just today in the NYT’s media blog came the news that the Newark Star-Ledger is planning on more newsroom employee buyouts-slash-layoffs. I have the feeling the disemployed reporters felt somewhat the same way as the drug dealers felt when they realized they had been tricked by Omar Little. They had the feeling it was coming, they did everything they could to prevent it, and when it came, all they can do is blurt, “Oh shit!”

Right. Anyway, at City Arts and Lectures, “two seasoned journalists and editors will discuss the current state of print journalism, the impact and implications of the shift toward a more digital world, and the future of print media.” Good luck with that!

‘Find some founders’ in SF this week

This post on BlogHer about dating in L.A. contrasts northern and southern California men:

“You know what you need?” she asked. “You need a founder. A smart guy in tech, a real guy who cares about that stuff in your head. You need a founder. I’m going to get you one. Girls like us, we know too much for Hollywood to get us. We’ll go find some founders…”

Welp, Oracle’s in town again, and the city’s crawling with tech geeks. Now’s your chance.

Google still leaves much of southeast SF from Street View

Although San Francisco was one of the first cities to have Google’s camera-equipped cars tootling up and down its streets to produce Street View imagery, the service has never been very good for the southeast part of the city. With yesterday’s update to the service, several neighborhoods, including much of Bernal Heights and Visitacion Valley, still lack coverage. Here’s Bernal Heights:


As a Bernal Heights resident whose block is not covered, I have mixed feelings about being left out. Should I feel exclusive, or excluded? At least it’s an improvement over the original coverage which showed only half the city.

Click the image above for an image that shows the southeastern quadrant of the city, where coverage is lacking.

SF stops at Cesar Chavez?
Google maps now displays BART, Caltrain lines
Petition to have bike routes on Google maps
Fun with Google maps

Salon lays off six staffers

San Francisco-based has laid off six staffers, according to Valleywag — that’s six out of 29 editorial positions, a 20.7% cut. Here’s hoping it doesn’t include my favorite Salon writer, Katharine Mieszkowski.

Update: Here’s an interesting look at Salon’s finances by David Weir, one of the original team that founded the webizine.

San Joaquin trains now on Google Transit

san_joaquin_routeCourtesy Jackson West, this post on the Trillium Solutions blog: Amtrak’s San Joaquin trains, which run between San Jose, Martinez, and Bakersfield, are now in the Google Transit system.

That means you can see them listed among mass transit options when planning your trip to the Buck Owens Crystal Palace or to see the awesome classic neon signs that Thomas Hawk recently blogged about.

I said when planning your trip. It’s Amtrak, you know, so don’t time things too closely. That said, the Capitol Corridor and San Joaquin trains are said to be among the best in on-time performance.

Trains near LA, Chicago and New York City have also been added.

SF left off Nissan’s list of cities for electric car pilot

2009-08-04-nissanleaf-thumbDespite SF Mayor Gavin Newsom’s pledge to make San Francisco electric vehicle-friendly, our greener-than-thou city is off the list of locales where Nissan will test-market its new electric Leaf model, seen at right.

Selected were Seattle, San Diego, Phoenix and Tucson, and the states of Oregon and Tennessee.

The project is being run by an Arizona company, eTec, which makes the chargers.

Marketers at play in the city

giant_laptopIncoming! The parachutists landing along the bayfront from Marina Green to the Ferry Building between noon and 3:00 today are part of a promotion for T-Mobile’s new phones.

And Radio Shack, which is going to try to re-brand itself as “The Shack” (good luck with that!), will put up “giant laptops” in San Francisco’s Justin Hermann Plaza and New York’s Times Square and invite C-list celebrities to lead audiences in both locales in bi-coastal games. The picture at left is an artist’s rendering of what the event is supposed to look like; click on the photo to be taken to the large, very creepy-looking and unintentionally hilarious hi-res version of what they imagine the event will look like, complete with multiple images of the same computer-generated peeps standing in the same pose at several places in the image.

The “giant laptops” are really just screens and cameras set up to beam SF’s image to NY and vice-versa; unfortunately the keyboards are not functional, a spokesperson told me. The “laptops” will be set up from Thursday to Saturday.

Former Rocky staff to launch pay news website — could SFGate follow?

As the Seattle Post-Intelligencer prepared for its last run on paper, former staffers at Denver’s just-closed newspaper, the Rocky Mountain News, announced today their intention to start a new online news site for Denver and charge $4.99 for it. They’ll try to get 50,000 monthly subscribers. Could that be a way forward for the San Francisco Chronicle and its popular online presence, SFGate?

Some interesting data points: both Seattle and Denver already have surviving other papers, the Seattle Times and the Denver Post. So their (former?) competitors’ online sites still have to compete, not only with the other papers’ online sites but with their surviving (for now) print editions. But in San Francisco, neither the Chronicle nor SFGate has an equivalent competitor. So if the print Chronicle goes away and it survives as an online paper, it would be the only big-league journalistic operation of its size, influence and considerable reputation.

So would you pay $5 a month — or even more, considering everything’s more expensive in San Francisco — for SFGate?

I would.

SF tranny coder may have wrought ViddyHo IM worm

The ViddyHo phishing worm that sought to trick Google mail users out of their usernames and passwords is allegedly the work of an “Anarcho-Transexual Afro-Chicano American Feminist Studies Major” from San Francisco, Hoan Ton-That — according to a Harvard Crimson article.

Gawker yesterday first reported the attack, which was unrelated to a major GMail outage that took place Sunday. Their story today, adding reports on the Crimson’s investigations as well as a lurid photo of Mr. Ton-That, closes with this comment:

Everything about Ton-That’s life and work is a screaming stereotype of San Francisco’s Web crowd — a bunch of supposed individualists who’d be paralyzed with fear by the idea that they’re not living in the right neighborhood, working in the right office, and chasing the right technological trend. That’s the irony of Ton-That’s involvement with ViddyHo. If he is indeed the perpetrator of the worm, it may make him hated. But it would be the first truly original thing he’s done.

Ouch, harsh! Like Gawker readers are not obsessed with the same things?

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