Transformation of books: 'The Elements' for iPad

We’ve heard about interactive textbooks for years, but we’ve never seen it. Not even on the Kindle, which has some nice features, but it’s not there yet.

But this book — The Elements — specifically designed for the iPad, looks stunning. Everything is informative, interactive… alive.

I don’t need a periodic table of the elements or any of the rest of this book. Not really. But I’ll buy it. I want to experience this new digital form.

Pew: Impact of the Internet on Institutions in the Future

By 2020, innovative forms of online cooperation will result in significantly more efficient and responsive governments, business, non-profits, and other mainstream institutions.

New survey results report from Pew on how institutions are likely to change as the impact of Internet models of thinking and acting change our expectations of those institutions. It’s also about how we, as workers in those institutions, are changing how we work and what we expect of work.

CS Monitor leadership gets it

the key to building and keeping traffic is far more prosaic than multimedia and sharing buttons. It rests on overcoming a huge cultural barrier: evolving a serious, experienced, thoughtful newsroom into an audience-first organization. I use the term “evolving” because this is all about the present tense. Trying to understand our current and future audience is a work in progress that will continue for as long as we publish on the web.

Great story — read the whole thing. The CS Monitor is rapidly iterating and staying focused on users and mission, not tools.

The best 21st century career advice available anywhere

The next time you see this man, you kiss him on the mouth.

Because he’s given us some killer career advice for all workers in all professions in all industries. Follow this advice and you will not want for work. The work will find you.

In “The importance of being a person,” consultant Bob Lewis outlines how you can make yourself indispensable in your job and in your field. He calls it “being a person,” which sounds a lot softer than his advice really is.

The short version (the full piece starts off a little slow, making its big point in the second half):

In just about every business, there’s a club. To become a member, you have to be a person, and not just an interchangeable, faceless, member-of-the-great-unwashed, one-of-the-troops sack o’ skills.

Companies treat members of the club differently than non-members. They pay members more. They give members more interesting assignments. Members receive the promotions, and their names aren’t on the Reduction In Force rosters.

If you value your career, believe me: You want to be a person.

The examples Lewis uses after this are IT- and software-related, but the point is the same. Either you’re someone business managers instruct, like a robot, to do a set grouping of tasks, or you’re an active part of solving team and company problems, taking ownership of the issues that keep your manager up at night or are holding back better corporate performance.

A person is someone that’s fully engaged, fully participating. Those people are hard to find and sometimes hard to keep around. But cogs in the machine? They’re a dime a dozen; easily replaced.

Find the ways to become a “person” in your company. And if you can’t do that where you are, find another company where you can participate fully.

Channel surfing + web surfing

NewTeeVee has a nice post summarizing some recent Nielsen data on TV viewing + simultaneous Internet usage.

Of course, the data are somewhat anecdotal because Nielsen has direct measurement tools for TV viewing, but noting “Internet time” is diary-style and the diary is likely filled out by older household members less likely to multi-media-task™ with laptop and remote on the couch.

It also ignores the younger set that doesn’t turn on the TV to begin with, but still watches TV content… via the web. I’m working with some new folks in St. Louis, some rather young folks, and they generally don’t watch TV via TV. So that usage pattern isn’t directly recorded, either.

Nevertheless, the dual-surfing approach is definitely on the rise, by Nielsen’s numbers and from my own observations. Shoot — my 70+ year old mother does that with her MacBook Pro and the big screen TV. Soon she’ll do it with her 64GB WiFi iPad (I kid you not).

A public media device?

With the launch of this new purpose-built GPS device (above) branded with Geocaching in mind, I got to wondering… Is it time for public media stations to consider contract design and manufacturing of purpose-built digital devices? After all, GPS units have been around for decades now, but this is the first major foray into the field that’s specifically designed around the Geocaching game and brand.

Sure, it’s probably too early for public media to actually build and sell custom devices, but it may be time to think about it.

Several years ago I saw a device from Colorado Public Radio designed to receive Internet streams from the station — and it had only one function: receiving the station. You couldn’t even point the device to another station. I don’t know if they ever mass produced the device, but I thought that was a fun little idea.

The public radio community has developed iPhone apps, of course — some impressive ones at that, with help from PRX, CPB and others. I imagine PBS may get into the game once the iPad is released — if the stations will allow it. Or maybe the producers will do it themselves, without PBS or station approval.

Can you imagine a full-screen interactive Frontline app with embedded documents, video clips, full episodes, links to online resources, live data and more? What a fabulous research tool, teaching tool, voter education tool and more! TV begins to look very flat, dull and excessively linear at that point.

Who knows if public media will go hardware — maybe software is enough. But let’s not think too small.

Healthcare, journalism, racism, obscenity and the FCC

While Americans have gained a national health care plan, something darker has been unleashed. Racism in American political life has been emboldened by the attacks on the administration allowed on certain media. Meanwhile the FCC takes refuge behind 1st Amendment rhetoric and concerns itself with “wardrobe malfunctions” rather than assaults on democracy perpetrated by so-called journalists.


Former NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin is always enlightening to follow.

If CNN told the truth

Wolf Blitzer should cry himself to sleep for the sins he visits upon our nation every day. And that goes for all the cable “news” network hosts. You too, Anderson Cooper — you’re part of the problem.
Breaking News: Some Bullshit Happening Somewhere

It’s always good to see a CNN documentary like this.