stone city


Moving Day – New site, new name!
December 6, 2008, 2:37 pm
Filed under: biz, Uncategorized

logo1Thanks for following stone city. As of today, this blog will continue at The Dether.net. Same content, same purpose, different name, different site.  Please update your links to reflect the new address: http://thedether.net.

I’m excited about the new site, so head on over and take a look. Thanks again for reading!

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Now That We Only Have One Basket, What Do We Do With All These Eggs?
December 2, 2008, 8:32 pm
Filed under: biz, blogging, social media | Tags: , , , , ,

diploma1We may not have felt it yet, but another kind of crunch is coming as a result of the American credit crisis. And for me, and others who make their living writing for blogs like this one, this looming squeeze will hit closer to home. I’m talking about the ongoing failure of the print publication industry.

There are plenty of examples ready at hand. PC Magazine, for instance, which has enjoyed a 26-year run as a print monthly, will see its last issue hit the presses January of 2009. It will, however, continue on in its online guise. Which brings me to my point: virtual space is about to have a lot less elbow room.

A recent article on Arizona State University’s journalism program points out a shift in the program’s focus to digital reporting. They are not alone. Closer to home, Ryerson Polytechnic University in Toronto, Canada, also recently introduced courses to add digital media to the mix in their post-graduate Publishing certificate program. Schools around the world are recognizing the industry shift, and are moving to meet the new demand. That means a number of things for those of us already in the space.

1) Credentialism Comes to Blogging

It’s still one of the few remaining places where you can get traction with an on-the-spot audition and no portfolio to speak of, but that’s about to change. With print journalists entering the online fray and grads fresh out of university and college programs brandishing field specific degrees and diplomas, gates are going to be harder to open and walk through. Those already in the field have the advantage, as long as you’re diligent in keeping your clips update, and knowing which pieces to highlight in your portfolio. Experience will still trump paper certification, but hungry new entrants will come packing both.

2) Fewer Fish Require Wider Nets

Whenever there’s economic trouble, it’s a good idea to take a long hard look at your skill set and see if you need to add to or improve it. If you’re a blogger, it’s probably a good idea to make sure you can be at least a bit of a generalist in a pinch. At the very least, be open to covering topics not usually within your comfort zone. Those you work for will appreciate the extra effort, and see that with you, they get a resource who’s quick to learn, and quick to adapt. Broadening your scope will also result in a portfolio that will suit a wider range of calls.

3) Blogging Institutionalized

Looking ahead a few years, we can anticipate one good thing coming out of blogging’s new maturity. As schools begin to shift the focus of their journalism programs, they’ll also need to supplement their teaching staff with proven experts in the field. They’ll likely try to use their existing print journalism faculty as much as possible, but eventually, they’ll need to turn to people with actual field experience, which will present the perfect opportunity for those who have a proven track record. Professional colleges, especially, wil likely need bloggers with long resumés to fill the faculty ranks.

It may seem like we’re looking at a none-too-bright future, but if you keep focused, and remember that this kind of adjustment period accompanies the legitimization of any industry, there’s a lot of opportunity to be had. A competitive field isn’t something to shy away from; the blogosphere will come out better for it in the end.



The potential of Clouds.
December 1, 2008, 8:02 pm
Filed under: gadgets, geekery | Tags: , , , , ,

clouds

More and more, we as computer users have our head in the clouds. We’re depending less and less on even making sure our feet are firmly planted on the ground at the same time. The elegant combination of netbooks and web apps is quickly bringing browser tech to the forefront in an unprecedented way. My most commonly used applications? Fluid-enabled versions of Facebook, Hiveminder, Flickr and Remember The Milk. And Firefox is always the first thing I open and the last thing I close. I think Mail is the only hard drive-based app I actually use anymore (besides Transmission. Shhh!).

Here’s yet another step skyward. It’s a new operating system from the makers of gOS, the Linux-based OS that powers Wal-Mart’s bargain basement Everex-brand netbooks. It’s also based on the Linux kernel, but it borrows some obvious cues from a certain Google-branded internet browser. The name of the OS is itself “Cloud,” and it boots in mere seconds. Basically, its a browser optimized for using web-apps, and not much else.

The beauty is that we no longer need much else. Even Microsoft Office, long the only real “required” piece of software on most people’s computers, is fairly easily replaced with Google apps or Zoho. There’s only one place I use Office anymore: at the actual office. And even then, in a better connected, more technologically current environment, I could probably largely avoid it if I wanted to. As a freelancer, I have little cause to ever open Microsoft’s Office suite, unless I want to see how it performs in a new OS environment.

As a MobileMe user, I’m well aware that moving to the cloud is not without its downsides. Still, I’m generally excited about the prospect. I’ve always been annoyed that so much of my notebook’s precious hard drive space is given over to applications that take up far more than their fair share of space. More and more, I can give that storage back to media, where it belongs. At least, that is, until streaming media matures to the point that it elminates the need for keeping local copies.