Corante Blogs examine, through the eyes of leading observers, analysts, thinkers, and doers, critical themes and memes in technology, business, law, science, and culture.
Vin Crosbie, on the challenges, financial and otherwise, that newspaper publishers are facing: "The real problem, Mr. Newspaperman, isn't that your content isn't online or isn't online with multimedia. It's your content. Specifically, it's what you report, which stories you publish, and how you publish them to people, who, by the way, have very different individual interests. The problem is the content you're giving them, stupid; not the platform its on."
by Vin Crosbie
in Rebuilding Media
There's a problem in the drug industry that people have recognized for some years, but we're not that much closer to dealing with it than we were then. We keep coming up with these technologies and techniques which seem as if they might be able to help us with some of our nastiest problems - I'm talking about genomics in all its guises, and metabolic profiling, and naturally the various high-throughput screening platforms, and others. But whether these are helping or not (and opinions sure do vary), one thing that they all have in common is that they generate enormous heaps of data.
by Derek Lowe
in In the Pipeline
Now that the Web labor market is saturated and Web design a static profession, it's not surprising that 'user experience' designers and researchers who've spent their careers online are looking for new worlds to conquer. Some are returning to the “old media” as directors and producers. More are now doing offline consulting (service experience design, social policy design, exhibition design, and so on) under the 'user experience' aegis. They argue that the lessons they've learned on the Web can be applied to phenomena in the physical and social worlds. But there are enormous differences...
by Bob Jacobson
in Total Experience
Clay Shirky, in deconstructing Second Life hype: "Second Life is heading towards two million users. Except it isn’t, really... I suspect Second Life is largely a 'Try Me' virus, where reports of a strange and wonderful new thing draw the masses to log in and try it, but whose ability to retain anything but a fraction of those users is limited. The pattern of a Try Me virus is a rapid spread of first time users, most of whom drop out quickly, with most of the dropouts becoming immune to later use."
by Clay Shirky
Over the last few years we've seen old barriers to creativity coming down, one after the other. New technologies and services makes it trivial to publish text, whether by blog or by print-on-demand. Digital photography has democratised a previously expensive hobby. And we're seeing the barriers to movie-making crumble, with affordable high-quality cameras and video hosting provided by YouTube or Google Video and their ilk... Music making has long been easy for anyone to engage in, but technology has made high-quality recording possible without specialised equipment, and the internet has revolutionised distribution, drastically disintermediating the music industry... What's left? Software maybe? Or maybe not."
by Suw Charman
in Strange Attractor
Derek Lowe on the news that the Nobel Prize for medicine has gone to Craig Mello and Andrew Fire for their breakthrough work: "RNA interference is probably going to have a long climb before it starts curing many diseases, because many of those problems are even tougher than usual in its case. That doesn't take away from the discovery, though, any more than the complications of off-target effects take away from it when you talk about RNAi's research uses in cell culture. The fact that RNA interference is trickier than it first looked, in vivo or in vitro, is only to be expected. What breakthrough isn't?"
by Derek Lowe
in In the Pipeline
Andrew Phelps: "Recently my WoW guild has been having a bit of a debate on the merits of Player-vs.-Player (PvP) within Azeroth. My personal opinion on this is that PvP has its merits, and can be incredible fun, but the system within WoW is horridly, horribly broken. It takes into account the concept of the battle, but battle without consequence, without emotive context, and most importantly, without honor..."
From later in the piece: "When I talk about this with people (thus far anyway) I typically get one of two responses, either 'yeah, right on!' or 'hey, it’s war, and war isn’t honorable – grow the hell up'. There is a lot to be said for that argument – but the problem is that war in the real historical world has very different constraints that are utterly absent from fantasized worlds..."
by Andrew Phelps in Got Game
Derek Lowe: "So, you're developing a drug candidate. You've settled on what looks like a good compound - it has the activity you want in your mouse model of the disease, it's not too hard to make, and it's not toxic. Everything looks fine. Except. . .one slight problem. Although the compound has good blood levels in the mouse and in the dog, in rats it's terrible. For some reason, it just doesn't get up there. Probably some foul metabolic pathway peculiar to rats (whose innards are adapted, after all, for dealing with every kind of garbage that comes along). So, is this a problem?.."
by Derek Lowe
in In the Pipeline
Bob Jacobson, on shopping at his local Albertsons supermarket where he had "one of the worst customer experiences" of his life: "Say what you will about the Safeway chain or the Birkenstock billionaires who charge through the roof for Whole Foods' organic fare, they know how to create shopping environments that create a more pleasurable experience, at its best (as at Whole Foods) quite enjoyable. Even the warehouses like Costco and its smaller counterpart, Smart & Final, do just fine: they have no pretentions, but neither do they dump virtual garbage on the consumer merely to create another trivial revenue stream, all for the sake of promotions in the marketing department..."
by Strange Attractor
in Total Experience
: "First off, I want to say that I really admire the ambition of the Guardian Unlimited’s Comment is Free. It is one of the boldest statements made by any media company that participation needs to be central to a radical revamp of traditional content strategies... It is, therfore, not hugely surprising to find that Comment is Free is having a few teething troubles..."
by Kevin Anderson
Here you will find the latest news from Corante including updates on upcoming events, new initiatives, product and publication launches, and more.
It was with shock that I returned home from a night out last night to hear the news of Russell's passing. How terribly, terribly sad. Most of all for him, as he'd seemed buoyant, healthier, and content when I'd last seen him several months ago when he was in town - he was happy that work was busy and rewarding and was having fun with it but most of all was thrilled about how things were going with his girlfriend, Ellen.
I've known Russ for what seems like ages now (in a good way) though in fact it's only been about six or seven years since the early days of "commercial" blogging when he started working on various projects at and around Corante. He was a diligent, committed, and prolific journalist who had impressively and more ably than others been able to make the transition from the old-school way of doing things to the new. He had his quirks, as we all do, but I greatly valued that he was good-natured, collegial, reliable, quick to adopt, trustworthy, eager to learn, and earnest in his interest in helping others better understand what he wrote about.
He was also, it should be said, a kind and thoughtful soul and it was the rare conversation in which he didn't ask, with sincerity, about what he knew of my life, e.g. our new babe, and we didn't talk as seemingly old friends about our lives and respective paths. I can't say I knew him very well, of course, but in our half-dozen get-togethers over the years and dozens of conversations I got a good sense of the man: he cared about learning and sharing and his bearing was earnest and ego-less and we'll miss him for that and more.
We wanted to let you know about a discount to New Comm Forum, the annual event event put on by our friends at the Society for New Communications Research. The conference, which runs from April 22-25, will feature many of the field's leading observers and is an important event for those looking, in the words of SNCR, to "better understand new communications tools, technologies and emerging modes of communication, and their effect on traditional media, professional communications, business, culture and society."
Check out the event's website and, if you're interested in attending, be sure to use the code supplied below for a special discount.
EARLY BIRD PRICING - NOW UNTIL FEB. 15th
NewComm Forum Conference - $995.
Pre-conference or post-conference session - $195.
SNCR Jam only - $75.
REGULAR PRICING - AFTER FEB. 15th
NewComm Forum Conference - $1095.
Pre-conference or post-conference session - $249.
SNCR Jam only - $75.
CORANTE READER DISCOUNTS
NewComm Forum Conference - save an additional $100
Use discount code: NCF08100
Pre-conference or post-conference session - save an additional $45.
Use discount code: NCF0845
We've been remiss in letting you know about two new independent blogs we've helped launch in the past month or so.
The first - the ConversationHub - is a companion blog to Supernova 2007, the latest edition of Kevin Werbach's excellent conference on all things connected. As the conference site says: "Supernova examines the effects of an increasingly connected world on business, life, and public policy. As disparate physical and social networks link with one another, a new societal network is rapidly evolving... The New Network is greater than the sum of its parts. It challenges us to re-create everything from the software and hardware we use...to the business models we employ...to the information and entertainment we encounter...to the ways we work and play."
Visit the ConversationHub and you'll find several dozen leading thinkers and doers, led by a few notable ringleaders, weighing in on the themes and trends of the day in technology and business. We encourage you to tune in - feel free to comment and even suggest topics and ideas for posts.
The second blog - Mobile Messaging 2.0 - convenes about a dozen top observers of the mobile messaging space for an intense discussion of the industry and where it's headed. Among its contributors are leading commentators, journalists and players in the field - tune in and you'll find them touching on topics such as mobile device design, messaging platforms, market pressures, user-generated content, interface design, and much, much more.
Also, if you visit the site, which is sponsored by Airwide Solutions, this week, you'll find live coverage and commentary from Global Messaging 2007, to which several of our contributors have traveled to hear about the latest developments from a broad spectrum of the industry's players and providers.
Be sure to catch the Office 2.0 Conference and hear from and engage with leading thinkers and doers in this exciting new market. Find out more here
and be sure to use the code "GLDRK" for a special discount for Corante readers.