Internet help TRPs

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Media Convergence helps everyone. The latest person to join this thought wagon is Leslie Moonves, chief executive of the CBS Corp, who got to broadcast both the Super Bowl and the Grammies this year. Many feel that the online media (blogs, twitter, etc) provide a water-cooler effect, and encourage people to split time between computer and the TV. And, this works not just for live programs but even when its not live.

Alan Wurtzel, the head of research for NBC Universal also feels as long as people want to share something, the effects of online conversations are “important for all big event programming, and also, honestly, for all of television going forward.”


Whales that kill

So, Shamu killed his trainer. And they say, its rare. And Borrowitz asks - If, as reported, killer whales rarely kill, how did they get their name?

So now I learn(from here) that killer whales really don't kill humans. They just kill others. And, sometimes mistakenly kills humans thinking they are not humans. Hmm. Interesting. I wonder how do we communicate properly with these beasts of preys that we are humans and should be let alone?

Perhaps, by simply letting them be in the sea and not messing with them? But, if we have to have fun looking at them imitating cute tricks(inside our natural buildings), i guess we should not be surprised about this too.


Some Press Conferences

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I just read Brooker's latest press mock. He was contemptuous of the recent Tiger Apology Episode. And some where else someone jokingly said its easy for the press and public to forgive Tiger, after all they are not married to him! If you are just another golf man nobody would have cared for sure. But, when you are a celebrity and your career and life is sculpted out of a good guy image, yeah you are the public's darling. And, then its the press and the public thats your actual parents(...and spouse and kids and relatives) than your birth family, when it comes to forming opinions and taking decisions based on your actions.

Well, perhaps you and I don't really have opinions about how other people should be leading their lives, but it seems a lot of people really really care. Like this media person for instance.

Image- MicrosoftE3 pressconference,2007


Politics Cymru

Monday, February 22, 2010

So this assignment blog started by three journalism students in Wales who call themselves Three Dewis first changed the structure of local news programming, then became an award winning and one of the top ten political blogs in 2009, and now is helping Production Company Tinapolis bid for the government's IndependentlyFunded News Media Tender.

Glin Tansley, one of the co-founders say that they reported on anything Welsh Politics. "We have tended to focus on the process and what's going on behind the scenes rather than policies. There's a bubble in Welsh politics and your either inside it or outside. We wanted to let people know what was going on on the inside. Part of this appeals to people who write and read online and are used to this style of blogging."

The big break came last year in June during European Elections. "We tweeted (and retweeted) the result live and then blogged the highlights (gaining a thousand followers in the process)."

Politics Cymru has surpassed its student beginnings and Tansley says any student with the chance to launch their own specialist or hyperlocal sites should take it up.

PS- Cymru(pronounced kemri) is welsh for Wales.


Flamingo Journalism

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Indian Journalist P. Sainath recently wrote a piece, highly critical of the Indian Media and titled ABC of Media : Advertising, Bollywood and Corporate Power He has written it after the recent and highly hyped Shivsena-SRK media coverage and I guess, like many, couldn't take the over-dramatization anymore.

I agree to a lot of things he felt, but I am not sure if I really want to agree to his ridicule. "They(the news) have to be justified not by their importance to the public but by their acceptability to the media, their owners and sponsors."

Is that so? In my opinion, the public seeks this kind of news. Hasn't our civilization reached a point that people actually expect some fun out of news? Isn't that why its named info-tainment? That made me google and I came across some very old articles like this , this etc.

When newsjournos first started flamingo journalism,they stopped being "true journos" and did it so that they don't lose audience. And yeah,they might have been "responsible" for "this". But, now, lets face it. Flamingo is what majority of the people actually care for.Should we(as "responsible journos") unnecessarily fret and worry about average human IQ going down?



Thursday, February 18, 2010




Some frequent Websights

Good Website designs should take care to showcase their purpose well.And while offering the best of services! Sometimes, minimalism help a lot, sometimes not. It depends on what its there for, and who their audience is. Look at Perhaps, it may not be called the most beautifully designed website. But, check again, it actually is. For their purpose, to suit the 30 million users(or more) who visit their site every single month, they are doing a great job by going too simple and by being to the point.The content management is well structured. Page load time is fastest. No disturbing ads.

Check That was a site I used to frequent when the HarryPotter Mania was at its peak. The ten long years she took to complete her book series. I still sometimes check it just to look at the design. They have utilised Flash to the most, and the site is very accessible even to visually impaired/deaf users thro keyboard and gives a very spooky wizardical atmosphere.It brings me back to the thought- Think again what is your purpose. And go for the design accordingly.

Another site I frequent and which I like is the one of NY Times . It is designed in the best way for any newspaper site. The news organization in grid formats gives a good feel. Plus, the title designs and the typography. Even though it holds a lot of content, it has a very professional look and you feel far from being in the middle of a clutter.It is easy Navigation.

But same is not the case with some other sites I go often. One is which makes me a little uncomfortable. The clutter, the ads,the lousy look. But,it is cleaner compared to some other websites that's a little too much in every this newspaper I go to check local news and another magazine website from my hometown.


Blind Faiths

Only yesterday I had read about British Islamist Anjam Choudhary urging everyone to wake up to the fact that Freedom and Democracy are Idols that must be destroyed and replaced with Obedience to Allah . And now, I hear that in Malaysia(yet again) theres a lot of heat over recent religious tensions between Christians and Muslims.Churches were burnt and in return Mosques were filled with heads of wild boars. Looks like Malaysia is doing great with enraged sentiments.

The other day a friend of mine was arguing that Image Merchants across the world have really succeeded in mixing faith,religion and politics for obvious purposes.Makes me really wonder what makes politicians divert attention from real issues to infantile matters. Well,in a way, I guess I answered my own question.


BlueBerries for better Memory

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Researchers at Univ. of Cincinnati Academic Health Center, OH and scientists at Tufts Univ, Boston have led a study that found out that intake of blue berry juice can considerably help boost memory in Aging Adults. Apparently, berry juice contains high levels of anthocyanins which act as strong anti-oxidants. This helps in improved motor skills and enanced memory when consumed in the mild impaired stage. That is, when memory failure just starts in old people.

This study has been done before on animals, but its been done for the first time in humans. The trial lasted three months on a small group of people averaging 76. Considerable improvement was noted at the end of daily consumption of blueberry juice. They also fared better than a similar group with no-blueberryjuice may be this might really help a lot of old people who has trouble with aging memory.


Innovative Journalism

Got to watch this discussion on Social Media and Journalism, featuring Rachel Sterne and Robert Mackey - two successful new age leaders in American Journalism. They started as citizen journalists who streamed news from information available on weblogs about the various new incidents that happen across the globe. And, now they have even started syndicating content to big names in the newspaper industry(HuffPost and NYTimes respectively). GroundReport's information sourcecount goes up to 5000+ contributors worldwide who get paid based on ad revenue.

Watch them talk about how online networks help in news gathering and what can be done to ensure accuracy in reporting.


A little big school

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Apart from anti-government protests and struggle stories from Iran, I recently heard about this young soldier who is also the headmaster of a school. Abdol-Mohammad Sherani, 23, heads the smallest school in the world(recognised by UNESCO), with a student population of 4 in the little town of Kalou. He has been sent there as part of government program, to provide education in small underprivileged areas and has now been teaching for four years.

He keeps a blog (translated by an Australian friend) about his life in Kalou. Its thro' this that he has gained world wide attention.

Reminds me of a news I had heard sometime back about 16 year old Babar Ali, youngest headmaster in the world.

Kudos to the young teachers.


Just Costa Rican Cat Fights? No!

Friday, February 12, 2010

I happened to read something about Costa Rica having their first female president and about "some women not happy in spite of the fact that a woman has become president".

What infuriated Ana Felicia Torres, leader of the New Feminist League is that President Laura Chinchilla(image,right) still has a very social conservative outlook as she seemingly preached "No to Abortion and No to Gay Marriage " to her countrymen and women. According to her(Torres), being in the Presidential Post, she(the Prez) needs to bring in more equality in and outside her office. Being a subscriber to that slogan of Live and let Live myself , I will take sides with Torres here.

I had once talked in detail to a senate candidate myself, and wondered if its a good idea for people in her constituency to elect her, as she had highly strong views about, 'curbing gays once I got elected'! We honestly need more Representatives who can preach Tolerance and a little more Goodness in the real sense of the word.

Costa Rica, like most Latin American countries, enjoys a good dose of equal female participation in politics, like not seen in many countries of the world.


A Halal Youtube

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Youtube has decided to help a lot of parents,like my landlady for one, to be happy and relieved, by introducing new Safety Mode (where no mature content will show up anymore). Like Google Safe Search, the new Youtube Safety Mode is for all those who were uncomfortable with their kids getting to watch inappropriate/uncensored stuff over the internet. Even the auto-fill that flagged up inappropriate content were upsetting many.

In Islamic World, when some time back some grown ups got very offended by popular search engines like Yahoo! and Google, they decided to come up with a new search engine altogether for muslims- imhalal

In there if you try searching for inappropriate content, you get messages like -

Warning! Our filters flag the results for this search with a Haram level of 2 out of 3. This means that the search results could contain Haram content.

Are you sure you want to continue to the search results?

ps- In Arabic --Halal means Good, Haram means bad.


Will you email this post?

What kind of content makes it to the most e-mailed list? Two researchers did a study on it. And found that "People preferred e-mailing articles with positive rather than negative themes, and they liked to send long articles on intellectually challenging topics".

The intensive study was based on the New York Times list of most e-mailed articles. They kept analyzing the content of the shared articles every 15 minutes for more than six months.

For studying the "viral" trends, 3,000 articles were rated by independent readers for qualities like providing practical value or being surprising. The researchers found that people forwarded more articles about science than more practical topics.They genuinely wanted information about the world and felt very "small" as compared to the big wide world.

Science kept doing better than we expected,” said Dr. Berger, a social psychologist and a professor of marketing at Penn’s Wharton School. “We anticipated that people would share articles with practical information about health or gadgets, and they did, but they also sent articles about paleontology and cosmology. You’d see articles shooting up the list that were about the optics of deer vision.”

An article about square watermelons is surprising, but it doesn’t inspire that awed feeling that the world is a broad place and I’m so small.”

Read on here.


Up in the Venezuelan Clouds!

Yesterday, I was listening, as my favorite cabbie was telling me that his little son wants to grow up to be a meteorologist - "For some years now,his greatest passion is switching weather channels and chewing on all the information".( yea, hes very smart for his age. I have met him once) And then today, I hear about Venezuela working hard at cloud seeding to make rain. They are going thro' a severe drought which has created a big need in electricty and water. And the government has now decided to depend on unconventional methods to make rain.

"Using technology borrowed from Cuba and Chile, the idea is to fire a mixture of silver iodide, dry ice and salt into vertically growing cumulonimbus clouds to encourage raindrops to join together."

Read more here.

Update-- Back home, my landlord told me once he met a couple who run a business of Predicting weather and Its effects on the financial market! Now, that was real news for a weather-illiterate like me. (Should google to learn more!)


Buzz's on Time!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Alright. So, Google is just determined to be the next Alexander. Buying out all potential competitors and integrating all services and feeding us at one place; now they are one more step ahead- by changing Gmail to Social Gmail. So, what if they had failed at first, with a lame "wave" that couldn't create many tides? The Buzz's here. And, like last time, it was not based on "invitations". They know better this time- that propogated elitism won't work anymore in the digital world where there are already a lot of more useful come one come all applications floating around. So, anyways, they just shoved the Buzz down everybody's throat yesterday. (everybody who opened their gmail inbox yesterday and thats a lot of people,if me and the stats are not wrong).

Aah,so, it seems like, little failures are still the big stepping stones to ultimate empire-dom. Is it? Lets see.

Update(Feb 18)-- Buzz is sued by Florida Resident for violating consumer protection laws. Many users had complained of loss of privacy. Buzz Settings initially automatically created profile and added friends based on most frequent emailed and chat contacts, sharing among them Picasa albums and Google Reader. Now, they had disabled it following a large number of complaints.


Will the real Sport please stand up?

Remember I told you just sometime back, about how lot of sociologists and Mandela and readers and almost everyone, think Sports is the one-shot solution for removing all chaos of the world and that is the best hope and easiest path for all of us living the dream of an Utopian Global Village? Well, hitchbitch (as he calls himself)just made me think -- Hm, so at the max, it might be good only for " intra-national" unity. For inter-national unity, we need much much more than just Sport.

Hitchens speaks quite insightfully about where the Olympics Spirit failed, and how international competitions breed conflict and bring out the worst in human nature.

Read on, for more.

Update(Feb 12)-- Good luck and Great Times from the 12th to 28th to all Nations and all participants at 2010 Winter Games,VanCouver!


Pour me some coffee,please!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mostly, when I hear Fox, I honestly prefer to be one of the three wise monkeys of olden adage and at times, all three altogether! But, couldn't help learning a lot about their Tea Party Movement in one of my classes. How do I just tell my professor I'd rather be a wise monkey when Fox is discussed. He'd have said too- Alrite, fine.I'll also be a wise monkey regarding your exampapers. So I listened, and learnt, and got more reasons to hate them.

Anyways, lets not deviate. The point is the foxes have come with a poll now. In their website. (No, no, I never went there to spy on them,I swear! The Twitterbird just whispered to me now.)

It seems that, at their National TeaParty Meet-up, when they tried to "discuss political issues", the participants had some "differences in opinion". And so, they being quite fair and square people, want to make sure with the new poll,that all are in unison, atleast about what they mean by all the Tea drinking! Sigh!This Silver Fox!


Which is Greener? Paper or Digital?

Looks like an easy question, but I happened to read this interview with Don Carli , a senior research fellow with the Institute of Sustainable Communication. He was talking about NewsMedia Innovation, Convergence and Sustainability. And during the talk, about how people have a misguided notion that less print means saving trees and a wasteful way of environmental destruction. Of course, it is so but print media is based on comparitively renewable materials. Where as, digital media means single largest stream of toxic waste created by man. The energy need to sustain digital electronics is much more as its primarily based on mining and refining of a lot of minerals and extensive use of plastics and hydrocarbon solvents.

So, think about it and see if you want to change the answer.


AirBenders in Pittsburgh

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Last semester in a class, one student had talked about the urgent need for more giant wind mills in the United States to harness natural renewable power resources. President Obama had talked about more green jobs too during his campaign a year back. And,Spain's Gamesia Corporacion Technologica, one of the largest equipment manufacturers in Wind Technology has now taken root in Pittsburgh, PA.
They had invested 200$ million to convert old industrial sites to clean technology power houses. They were successful in creating and offering a lot of green jobs in the US. They have 700 workers in the state currently and to a large extent, been able to cut down on carbon emissions.

The company hopes to soon account for 20 percent of electrical supply of the US.


Mind games for a Sporting mind!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Read that sociologists have started forming allusions around sports to teach young students at Harvard. Studies say they feel young minds 'get things better' when concepts revolved around sport analogies. They identified the role of moral ethics in American Sports and applied athletic traditions of olden Europe to the college classrooms. And it clicked!

Guess that's a good idea. Sports can unite minds easily than anything else. Only last month I watched Clint Eastwood-Morgan Freeman movie Invictus and learnt about how Mandela realised what our sociologists realised, and how sport united a split south africa with so much ease(in the mid-90s).

Hail Sports! Read it all here!


Aichas of Arabia!

Today morning I read about some women in Saudi Arabia who felt empowered thanks to the internet. In Arab world(and in many other parts of the world), where women are still repressed, that is good news!

“From the authorities’ viewpoint,” one woman explained as she saw it, “so long as women are behind a curtain, or a screen, and so long as they are not before a camera or walking down the street, then everything is fine. Women are free to do anything they want as as long as they aren’t seen, heard or spotted doing it by men.”

Reading the post made me feel happy for atleast those women of repressed societies, who now feel empowered. Made me go to youtube, and check out an old favourite song from Outlandish- Aicha, which was a tribute to all women(and a hit video back then!)

ps -Aicha is a very common girl name and in Arabic, it means - 'She's alive'.


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