Sunday, December 13, 2009

For a friend

It's all how you look at it.

Time and space are the independent variables.
Matter and energy are the dependent variables.
Space/time tells matter/energy how to look.
Matter/energy tells space/time how to act.

Humans are animals.
Like all animals they can be seen as actors in activity spaces.
Activity space is made of information space and physical space.
For humans, their information space is also their cognitive space.

The stories in their cog space creates meaning.
Stuff happens in physical space.
Humans "explain" the stuff with the stories in their cog space.
But stuff happens independent of the stories they create.

Sometimes the stories predict future stuff happening.
Sometimes the stories don't predict stuff happening.
Humans are scared of stuff that is going to happen.
That's because there is always the danger of being killed by stuff.

Humans know they are going to die.
That makes them always afraid.
Usually they don't think about it.
That's called denial.

They keep their cog space busy, busy, busy so they don't think about it.
They make art so they don't think about it.
They fall in love so they don't think about it.
They create dynasties so they they don't think about it.

Meanwhile, physical space goes on and on . . . until it doesn't.
The head brain talks to the gut brain talks to the head brain.
Humans eat, sleep, fornicate, and play.
Eating, sleeping, fornicating and playing don't need stories.

Meanwhile cognitive space is always buzzing.
Mostly it's buzzing with input and output to physical space.
But it also buzzes with words, sounds and pictures.
Humans have language so the buzzing presents as thinking.

Time and space are the independent variables.
Manic depression is the word for moving too fast or too slow.
When they move too fast, they can bump into things.
When they move too slow, they don't eat, sleep, play or fornicate.

They can move too fast in cognitive space.
They can move too fast in physical space.
They can move too slow in cognitive space.
They can move too slow in physical space.

How fast is too fast?
How slow is too slow?
It depends on their activity space.
"Different strokes, for different folks."

Humans are happy when they feel they have power.
Power means predicting future stuff.
It makes them forget that they are going to die.
But they are going to die.

Friday, December 11, 2009

An academic, relatively boring, description of the Printernet

The Printernet is the Cloud based network that connects printing enterprises around the world.

It is massive parallel manufacturing with standards-based interfaces, real time production information and easy access for everyone. Each printer — the combination of the machinery and the intelligence that manages the machinery — is a print output node. Each node is both part of the network and self-sufficient. When the nodes are working together mass customization of print product becomes commonplace at previously impossible speeds and quantities.

The Printernet has three moving parts; the OEM, the OPM and the VAR.

The OEM manufactures, distributes and continuously improves the machinery and supplies necessary to print. The OPM - original product manufacturer uses the machinery and adds the intelligence and supplies to manufacture print. The VAR works with the end user to select the most appropriate products and software to create a new value for the customer. The customer supplies the energy, usually but not always, in the form of money, to power the whole thing.

Managing the network falls to the UNF - the user network facilitator. This function is primarily self evolving, but as the network matures will be increasingly taken on by formal organizations and enterprises.

The Battle of the Titans is for the number 1,2 and 3 UNF positions.

Like all resilient networks each level is self sufficient
A printernet can have a self sufficient presence in a school building or a school district. The UNF/VAR is the MPS. The OEM are the MFP manufacturers. The MPS chooses the most appropriate hardware and software for that specific local situation. Each is different in the details. Each is the same at the conceptual level. Print from the Cloud is enabled at the desktop, the workgroup or the CRD within the organization.

The new experience occurs when the school based printernet is seamlessly connected to commercial printernets. At that point production equipment is clipped on as a print output node - an OPM. That allows yearbooks, student newspapers and textbooks to be pulled from the ground and delivered in print in very close to real time.

The local commercial OPM is connected to a regional printernet. Newspapers can accumulate content in the Cloud on an ongoing basis consistent with the way that events occur in real time. When interest based communities form, the appropriate content is pulled from the Cloud and print manufacturing occurs to satisfy that particular interest. The VAR are the reporters and editors. Their job is know which slice of information is interesting to what group. They use their experience, website + transinfo analytics and web 2.0 to identify and anticipate the emergence of communities of interest.

The regional printernet is connected to the global printernet. From the Cloud the physical location of the OPM is irrelevant. Space and time disappear as a limiting factor on distribution of print product. Anyone, anywhere, anytime can originate content. Any OPM anywhere can manufacture the print product that captures that information. VARs are distributed all over the planet. Pulling just the right content in just the right format at the just the right time for just the right person.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Stop the Drama. Newspapers should forget about "breaking news". . . or is that breaking noise.

Originally Posted Thursday, February 26, 2009

This morning I found a post by Martin Langeveld, over at Nieman Journalism Lab. It's in the form of a "MEMO TO: Steven Swartz (CEO, Hearst Newspapers) and Dean Singleton (CEO, MediaNews Group):" It's most definitely worth the click.

But there was one sentence that I want to highlight here.
They should drop all breaking news and focus on analysis and features.
And then I said,
Do you have any thoughts about the viability of a daily edition, that might look like:
12 to 24 page tabloid that sells for $.25

(Charging something is the only way to get news stand distribution and to get a clear signal to supply the feedback to the publisher on the content.)

Page 1: a summary of the latest buzz - “the breaking news” similar to the News In Brief the WSJ runs on the front page. Global, National, Regional, Local. One column for each.

Page 2 &3: Five part feature story. Pt 1 on Monday,Pt 2 on Tuesday, etc Full five part available to read online on Monday.
Also offered as to download to a Kindle for $2.00 and available as a reprint in paperback form using Print On Demand technology for $4.50.

Page 4: Heard around the local web.
Given that almost every community now has a good number of local conversations, the content is there. This would be “he said, she said” and “if you want to add your two cents, here’s the URL”

The rest of the 12 -24 pages would be local ads, at low enough prices that local business could afford. With a frictionless sales process.

The daily tab could be printed in versioned editions, different neighborhoods getting different news in briefs. Local would be neighborhood local. Or beat local as resources allow.
And then Martin said,
Yes . . . Could be free, could be $.25, published Mon-Fri. In reality it’s a niche publication which constitutes a totally different read from the weekend paper.
Then I said,
Thank you for the response. Always nice to feel one is not merely drinking one own’s Kool-Aid.
Not running after the breaking noise is the game changer.
Once journalists get out of the buzz business, and leave that to TV and the Internet, they can get on with the real purpose of journalism, to entertain, educate and inform. Plus people can get smarter, instead of more confused. Plus newspaper companies can get back to the business of selling joint print/web ads to local business and harvest the web data to develop new products to grow their business.

"Breaking news" requires sound bites. Sound bites are pernicious becuase they seem to describe some slice of reality. But they don't. That's why they confuse, instead of clarify.

It is the "financial meltdown" instead of a reorganization of the global financial system. It's the "stimulus", instead of the Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The Federal Government buying convertible preferred bank stock is "Nationalization."

Drama used to sell newspapers. But real people don't need drama about government and policy. Drama is fine in the context of reality TV, celebrities and talking heads. It is worth considering that the President's nickname is No Drama Obama. It seems to be working pretty well for him so far.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A day in twitter October 12.

It's been a little quiet over here because I keep laying with twitter to see what might be possible. My hypothesis is that twitterstreams in print create many new possibilities for learning. Below are this mornings tweets.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thinking about Print and Education with Twitter

Is learning how grape vines spread a key to education informatics? #biomimicry

Do grape vines "publish" grapes? and Triffids - by adding motion - "produce" videos? #biomimicry

The Day of the Triffids video clip

From @newscientist "Gardening goes all hot and steamy" #biomimicry

If #education=communication, then sustainable #education=sustainable communications. Nature makes grapes. People make wine. #biomimicry

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Twitter as a Communications Research Tool

Duplicate of post at Tough Love for Xerox.

For the last few weeks, I've been playing with twitter and finding interesting-to-me tweets. The observable behavior that indicates "interesting-to-me" is if I bother to tweet about it. To manage learning observable behavior is more reliable than speech acts, either in the form of standardized tests or traditional surveys.

From time to time, it's also interesting-to-me to look over my tweets. 140 characters might turn out to be a set of useful "dots." I would call them memes. What I'm thinking is that demography + genetics + mimetics may be just the right lens to reveal the mechanisms of a communication ecology.

The hypothesis being tested:
Twitterstreams published in print with Smart QR are a useful tool for learning.

So far, it's working for me. But that doesn't mean it's going to work for anyone else. Until some real testing is done in the field it's only an educated guess based on my experience and reading. It's Nothing more.

At any rate, here's some "dots" -memes- in the world of Print.
"Sony seems like the bst hope for a strong Amazon altrntv (Plastic Logic is a fairly prmsng dark horse)" via @raduboncea
The point is that the ereader market is now really heating up. My opinion is that it will drive print on demand versions of those same books. Real readers have always been a small market. As that market grows, the demand of printed books will grow. It's confusing because we always had the reader/textbook market to ourselves. But a smaller piece of a growing market is ok.
"When you do something by heart, it bypasses some of the common sense processing" Seth's Blog
This is another view on the "too busy, being busy" problem. When you are too busy, being busy you tend to make decisions from the heart without engaging the brain.
ToughLoveforX RT @risoprinter RISO blog: Leveraging Twitter for your printing business
from Risoprinter @ToughLoveforX Thanks for the blog post and thanks for the Follow. Looking forward to saying hello at Print '09 (RISO booth #1263)

ToughLoveforX @risoprinter no thx necessary. If it's intrstng-2-me, I blog it. Riso is now quite intrstng-2-me. Won't be in Chicago. I'll follow
I did a post about Riso here yesterday. The exchanges above happened within a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon. What I think I'm seeing from Riso is a level of responsiveness and creativity that I think is going to give the other globals a real run for their money. The video at their YouTube channel was very impressive-to-me.

To be clear, I an NOT fishing for responses. Nor do I really care about building a "following" or creating a "brand." I care about fixing high school education at the bottom of the pyramid. To all my friends in the industry who have known me for many years, no fooling around, my day job is now managing my IRA.

In the service of trying to figure out when interesting-to-me, is interesting-to-someone else, here are the items that caught someone's attention and were "good enough" interesting to RT. If other people thought they were interesting, an unexpected pattern might emerge from these.

The RTs since August 23, 2009
BrentKPohlmanRT @ToughLoveforX: RT @BrentKPohlman @theindependent Very cool Newspaper using Twitter! " #clickableprint Thanks 4 RT

dcarliRT @ToughLoveforX NatGeo's Responsible Brand NatGeo+#CGX+#HP doing personalized #printernet publishing

good_educationRT @ToughLoveforX RT@DPendletonSC "I am trying to look at recommendd educational lnks frm TweetDeck, but EVERYTHING is blocked fro ...

AugmentedAdvertRT: RT @ToughLoveforX #Clickableprint = connecting Print to anywhere, anytime video using Smart #QR codes. Sm..

qrpowerRT @ToughLoveforX #Clickableprint = connecting Print to anywhere, anytime video using Smart #QR codes. Smart #QR..

twittor_groupsRT @ToughLoveforX "Doctors, health care groups use Twitter to reach public (via @Twittor_Groups) Me: twitterstr ...

qrpowerRT @ToughLoveforX Note: "A Survivor's Guide to American Consumer Culture." = read free/pay for print. Imagine if..

s_dunnGreat Teacher Resource RT @ToughLoveforX: "These Twitter feeds come from classroom teachers offering great advice .."

qrpowerRT @ToughLoveforX New blog post: The Economist does an article on 2D. It's not just #QR. It's Data Matrix + Ezco..

katagana@ToughLoveforX great isn't it? Biomimicry is the way of the future!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Growing a theory of Communication Ecology. 140 characters at a time.

This morning's tweets from ToughLoveForX.
RT @dokodare skin.etc.. + "nature; its slow throb of multi, dcy, regnrtn, symtry, disordr" . Nice.RT@EvidenceMatters Matthew effect .. bibliometrics MJ: if memes = genes, is bibliometrics a mimetics specialisation?

RT@twittor_groups RT @trinamilan Twubs are Twitter groups built around #hashtags: MJ: Consider #English_101_section_3

If #education = learning to evaluate research, then teacher colleges should teach Greenhalgh (via @EvidenceMatters )

RT@complexdays Mini Robofish.. #biomimicry | #mimesis MJ: if they get them to swim in schools, we can fix #education.

If memes=genes, and Wolfram is right about a new science and string theory is useful and communication has an ecology, then #biomimicry?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Twitter approach towards a theory of sustainable communication ecology

I started "twittering" about a month ago. As of today, I consider myself a born again twitt. A twitter stream from this morning, follows:

RT@OpenHQR What is Holistic Quantum Relativity? Me: demographics+genetics+mimetics = #education informatics.

Australian academic S.J. Whitty .. "project management is a memeplex"

S.J. Whitty "In this paper I will . . argue . . for . . memetic approach to PM research" PDF @

Dawkins says “all life evolves by the differential survival of replicating entities” Memes are self replicators,

Kofman says "we do not talk about what we see; we see only what we can talk about”:

Bandler says "Misled by the structure of our language, we come to assume that blue is a property" of the thing. Printers know how that works

S.J. Whitty says the language of P M "has evolved by memetic selection. This presupposes no design, only the appearance of it. "

S.J. Whitty says " Memes are tools for thinking, and they have to be used in order for them to generate behaviour " #Education is thinking.

S.J. Whitty "Instead of seeing knowledge as cnstrctd by social system, memetics defines social systems as cnstrctd by knowledge processes.

Blackmore suggests that our enormous human brain size has been created by memes, a product of genetic and memetic evolution.

S.J Whitty :" Memetic research could identify/isolate. . 'best practice' Organisations would then . . . (get to) a shorter learning time

AIPM says "Our vision is to be recognised by bsiness,industry, government, as the leader in prject mngmnt profesnalsm.

Oops! The correct link for Australian Institute of Project Management is

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thread started in 2008 gets back on my radar. @CoEvolving Innnovations

This is a most rigorous discussion with lots of charts and footnotes. Pretty interesting, but I still haven't had a chance to print it out. I can't do rigorous reading on the screen. That's why I love Print. If you are interested, the link.

Here's how it starts:
As Service Science, Management and Engineering (SSME) has been developing, I’ve noticed a refinement of language. Rather than just abbreviating the long clause to service science, I’m now careful to use the phrase of a science of service systems, following Spohrer, Maglio et. al (2007). There’s a clear definition of service system in the final April 2008 revision of the report by the University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing.
My two cents:

I still have to print out, highlight and mull the many points you’ve put on the table. Perhaps the following will be useful in disentangling what’s happening.

Suppose the bins were energy, time and space. It eliminates the notion that information creates stuff. Actually making stuff starts with stuff that moves through a process. Information makes the process require less time and energy. But without the input of stuff, we still don’t get to more stuff.

In this schema, re energy, we get people power. Tool assisted people power. Then biomass based power. The next stage would be solar or renewable power sources. Input stuff might be framed as time/energy that has been fixed in space. The system structure can then be framed as the emergent structure of time/energy in time/space.

Three variables make for much simpler models.

Twitter: "pointless babble" or peripheral awareness social grooming? or not a "media" as commonly understood?

Since my day job is nurturing my IRA and I love a good argument, I've been spending most of time blogging at the Print industry over at ToughLoveForXerox. Recently I started playing with twitter as ToughLoveforX. Not surprisingly, that leaves very little bandwidth for more theoretical discussions about how print fits into the communication ecology.

Luckily, as most things happen in the world, I got a follower request, checked out who else they were following and got to a rigourous discussion about the nature of media. If you are interested, it is worth the click. Over 35 responses as of this morning.

The blog in question is hosted by
danah boyd and I'm a researcher at Microsoft Research New England and a Fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society. I received my PhD from the School of Information at UC-Berkeley. I live in Boston, MA. Buzzwords in my world include: public/private, identity, context, youth culture, social network sites, social media. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.
At any rate, here's my "contribution" to the discussion.
"Perhaps a good way to clarify what is going on with Twitter is to consider that it does not work as a 'media' in any conventionally defined sense. It might better be framed as technology assisted social communication.

That puts it into the same thought bin as the agora, the 15th century coffee shop, the Royal Academy in the 18th century and the madrassa and high school of today. While there are many emergent 'purposes' of twitter, they are the result of the interactions.

I think I've found that communicating is much easier without the implicit stress of requiring a reply. Adrian said "Doesn't much this babble fall into what Goffman called "civil inattention." I think "civil inattention" implies "no reply necessary." Once that implicit stress is removed, it removes friction from the exchange. As Twitter time shifts conversations it removes the time constraint. As the internet makes space irrelevent, it removes the space constraint. What is left is what people do in the absence of time/space constraints, under conditions of low proximate stress.

As for it being mostly babble, as has been said above most of human conversation is babble, until it's interesting-to-me. It's similar to the problem in physics of non-locality and electrons that are in two places at once, until you look. If look = measure = interesting-to-me, I think the metaphor holds.

Since I blog to and about the printing industry it shouldn't be surprising that I see the world through a Print centered lens. But, I think the elimination of the implicit requirement of a response, helps explain why books reinvented science. It's also the underlying notion that makes me think that new technologies in print will do that again in the service of education.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Sketch for an Evolutionary Approach to Print in the Communication Ecology

A gene in biology is like a meme in culture. They are both self replicators. As the self replicators looking at the evolution of the systems from the point of view of the gene or the meme is a good way to generate assertions than can be disproved by emprical evidence.

"Evolves to a collection of," shortened to ETACO to make it easier to write, is the area where the mechanisms of evolution happen. Articulating the mechanisms of change is the key to managing unintended consequences of interventions.

Sound ETACO Words ETACO Sentences ETACO Memes ETACO Narratives ETACO Language Culture

This is NOT a linear process. It would be better visualized as cloudy sky or schools of fish rather than a spread sheet or functions in n dimensions.

How Print fits into a system governed by the more, the more
In the beginning was the Word . . .King James Version, John 1:1.
A replicator that is bound by time and space
True writing is only thought to have developed independently in four different civilizations in the world, namely Mesopotamia, China, Egypt and Mesoamerica, from Wikipedia
A tool that speeds replication
The history of the alphabet begins in Ancient Egypt, more than a millennium into the history of writing. The first pure alphabet emerged around 2000 BCE to represent the language of Semitic workers in Egypt (see Middle Bronze Age alphabets), and was derived from the alphabetic principles of the Egyptian hieroglyphs from Wikipedia
A tool that leads to a phase change in replication speed and scale
Around 1450, Johannes Gutenberg introduced what is regarded as an independent invention of movable type in Europe (see printing press), along with innovations in casting the type based on a matrix and hand mould. Gutenberg was the first to create his type pieces from an alloy of lead, tin and antimony – the same components still used today.[5]
The tool set evolves
The Gutenberg press was much more efficient than manual copying and still was largely unchanged in the eras of John Baskerville and Giambattista Bodoni—over 300 years later.[9] By 1800, Lord Stanhope had constructed a press completely from cast iron, reducing the force required by 90% while doubling the size of the printed area.[9] While Stanhope's "mechanical theory" had improved the efficiency of the press, it still was only capable of 250 sheets per hour.[9] German printer Friedrich Koenig would be the first to design a non-manpowered machine—using steam.[9]
The tool evolves again

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How My 6-Year-Old Became a Citizen Journalist | PBS

from MediaShift Idea Lab .
How My 6-Year-Old Became a Citizen Journalist
But it wasn't until a wave of tornadoes went through my hometown of Denver this week that I realized just how far the revolution has come.

A confluence of inexpensive, accessible consumer technology, and microblogging sites like Twitter and Facebook, has lowered the barriers of entry so far to make me think we're witnessing the birth of a completely new -- and arguably better -- breaking news system that involves everyone.

Just look at the experience of Lauren, my 6-year-old daughter, with her $68 Fisher-Price digital camera. On Tuesday, it vaulted us both into the local media spotlight within minutes after she captured footage of a funnel cloud forming over our house.

I uploaded everything to Flickr and Vimeo and posted links in Twitter. Minutes later, @CBS4Denver, the local CBS News affiliate, was broadcasting the footage on the air and interviewing me live over the phone.

That night, CBS came to our house to do a segment about my daughter and how she shot the photo on her Fisher-Price camera. Here's that segment, followed by my video footage.
The next step would be to do a clickable print story in the newspaper.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The end of textbooks in California could be a Golden Opportunity for Newsapers

Reposted from Tough Love for Xerox.

additional editing by Mike Rosen-Molina

My California
My California 21 is a unique history curriculum developed specifically to meet the needs of upper elementary and middle school students.

Newspaper format: 32 chronological issues resembling small newspapers present the story of California in a student-friendly, informal style that does not intimidate or repel young readers.

Some Global or PSP or MPS should really get in touch with these people. The next natural step will be The Clickable Newspaper.

Here's why:
On Wednesday, June 10, 2009, California will be phasing out textbooks for K -12 education. Instead, the so-called Digital Textbook Initiative will supposedly replace these old books with digital e-readers. Recognizing that one size fits all textbooks books were no longer the best tool to reach modern, tech-saavy students, Schwarzenegger said:

Kids, as you all know, today are very familiar with listening to their music digitally and online and to watch TV online, to watch movies online, to be on Twitter and participate in that and on Facebook. So basically kids are feeling so comfortable today, as a
matter of fact, as comfortable with their cell phones and with their keyboards as I did when I was your age, when I was a kid, with my pencils and crayons.

So this is why I think it is so important that we move on from the textbooks. The textbooks are outdated, as far as I'm concerned and there's no reason why our schools should have our students lug around these antiquated and heavy and expensive textbooks. California is the home of Silicon Valley. We are the world leader in technology and innovation, so we can do better than that.

Schwarzenegger's announcement should not be a surprise, since every state needs to save every penny it can. And it's also clear that the Obama Administration is serious about fixing education in the United States.

But what may go unnoticed is the new opportunity that this creates for newspapers struggling to find their niche in the new digital economy.

The Education Problem
A thanks to Alan Sitomer at the English Companion Ning for the point to YouTube.

The underlying problem with our public education is that it was never designed to create learning environments. It was originally grew out of the need to train a rural population to the new requirements of an industrial economy. It is no accident that most schools are organized into discrete classes that start and stop with the bell, since showing up on time, following directions, and performing well on specific tasks are the fundamental requirements of an mass market value chain industrial economy.

The other original function of our school systems was to filter and sort. The "smart kids" were filtered toward college and careers in management and the professions. The "less smart" were filtered to move first into the ever expanding manufacturing jobs supplied by ever expanding manufacturing and later into office-based service jobs. The "unruly" were consigned to doing whatever they had to do to survive.

Now that the underlying economy has changed from mass market to masses of niche markets and the real value of the workforce is its ability to respond creatively to ever changing challenges and opportunities, this old model has become obsolete. Around the country, there are the pockets of new models emerging -- and soon they will merge to create a tipping point.

The Newspaper Opportunity
Any teacher can tell you that a student really learns when the teachable moment occurs. The problem is that seeing and then taking advantage of that "teachable moment" is very difficult. A teacher must first be able to sense when it is going to happen, but even then it's almost impossible today to take advantage of that moment. The problem with textbooks is that they say do this, then do that. There is no way to leverage the teachable moments that happen in daily life -- for example, when GM crashes or the President makes a speech in Cairo -- to fit into a school curriculum.

Each of us have, at one time or another, followed a link to another link to another link. In that process, we were able to find just the appropriate story and data for us, at that time. What is interesting to me now may not be interesting to me an hour from now. That's the power of the web.

The problem for a teacher is that, for their students to learn what they need to learn, that journey needs an active mentor. Software designed interfaces are okay, but much less effective than a human who can both sense and quickly respond to needs that are felt but not yet articulated.

While undirected searching can very effective in the hands of person who already has a context in their brains, it is too unpredictable to be the primary method of educating a student who has yet to develop that same context that we take for granted. Given that different students have different learning styles, a complete reliance on computers is the same "one size fits all" approach that created the problem in the first place.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger instead seems to moving in the direction of e-readers and web access. That is a good thing. But the reality is that the web as a medium has the advantage of speed and the very serious disadvantage of making it inconvenient to do "compare and contrast." The additional problem is that e-readers are going to have be managed and will break and students will lose them.

From the educational point of view, the fact is that print is the most convenient medium for compare and contrast. The essence of logical thinking is to compare and contrast before coming to a personal judgment. The more a student practices that activity, the more robust the logical thinking function in their brain.

It's not that hard to implement
The world of newspapers is designed for speed and relevance. Producing a print product on deadline is a natural and necessary skill for any newspaper organization. The skill sets are already well defined and in place. If the editorial decisions were made on the basis of educational standards instead of the "breaking news,"

Journalists are experts at crafting just the right words, pictures and videos to communicate stories. Teachers and textbook editors and writers are not. To be clear, it's not because they don't have the talent. It's because they don't have the practice.

Teachers are experts at knowing their students. They understand just the right words and actions to allow a student to learn. As they practice their mentoring skills, instead of their class management skills, they will become increasingly more proficient at it.

In a world where newspapers take up the mantle for education, the optimal teacher/newspaper experience might be something like this:

1) The teacher goes to a website that catalogs a library of newspaper stories based on the curriculum of each grade. They could be stored in a wiki and new stories added as they were requested by a teacher.

2) The teacher selects just the right series of stories for her class for the next week. Different classes could use learn from stories coming from different sections of the paper. Science classes would learn from stories from the science and technology beat, while English classes could benefit from great feature stories on items of community interest.

If it's good for the parents, it will be good for the kids. Maybe parents and kids could actually talk about the same thing after dinner or driving to the supermarket. The benefits to a math class might be less intuitive, but consider how much math high school kids could learn by reading business stories. Plus the stats from either baseball or wall street are completely compelling to many kids, opening up a whole slew of teachable moments.

3) The newspaper publisher delivers 200, 500, or 1000 copies of a 24 page newspaper to the school for next week's unit. This was not practical before the invention of digitally printed newspapers. But it is cost effective today.

The Business Model or Where's the Money?
The same place the money always came from -- advertising. But for delivery into the schools, the advertising is strictly limited to organizations involved in public health, safety and citizenship. Government organizations and foundations spend significant amounts of money both getting their message out and fund raising. It is a ready market that wants to change the behavior of exactly this audience.

Once California has eliminated textbooks from K -12, there is little doubt that the textbook business as it has developed over the last 40 years is done. The vacuum created could be just what a newspaper needs to get to the next stage of its development.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A solution for the Newspaper Revenue Problem: Clickable TV Listings in Print

edited version reposted from Tough Love for Xerox blog.

Clickable print is print + 2d barcodes that take the user to a website. 2D barcodes can be in the form of QR codes that allow the connection to be made through a cell phone or PC camera or a traditional bar code that allow the connection to be made by a scanning pen.
More at PBS. MediaShift and at the Clickable Print Blog.

It's now clear that only a few can profit from web advertising. Google can earn huge revenue because they have the scale and the automated ability to receive and deliver ads on an unimaginable scale. The web advertising is business is tiny margins on each transaction, massive number of transactions. It works for Google because the marginal cost of receiving and delivering ads is very close to zero.

But everyone else in "Euromerica" is just too small. Since I'm not familiar with Asia, I can only guess that the real competition will come from there. Yes, it is plausible to believe that Facebook in the mass market and Linked In in the professional market might get to the appropriate scale and might invent a way to deliver ads in social networks. But that is still to be seen. It's hard to get rent, when the real estate is unlimited.

There is now little doubt that on demand TV is quickly moving to anytime, anywhere.

The computer screen is the TV for YouTube,,, Hulu, the Comedy Channel, etc etc etc. The TV is the TV for the cable channels. Now that the USA has switched to digital TV it will become "any movie ever made, any time, any place."

As America evolves into a mature wireless communication ecology, TV will be on the cell phone for private viewing of short form video. The living room will be for shared viewing of either short form or long form or multi part long form video. Flat screens distributed around the home will be background TV.

What to watch?
The paradox is that the "What to watch?" problem will only get more difficult. Anyone who has used the remote to select that night's programing, understands the nature of the problem today. Imagine the babel created with a virtually unlimited number of offerings.

Consider how much you might value a single piece of Paper or a couple of pages in a newspaper with 2d codes, either QR or any of the other bar codes, where the click is a scanning pen or cell phone? On the computer this is not a problem. You click on the link. But searching the computer for that "interesting-to-me-now" video is very inconvenient. Clicking on print, is very convenient.

Clickable print.
Real estate in print is limited and therefore valuable. From the user's point of view, the defensible advertising advantage of Print is that it is the least expensive, most convenient way to find something that you didn't know you were looking for. Print advertising does not require search by fingers. It enables search by eye. Users thumb through Print when they are bored. "Bored" is the state of scanning for something interesting.

Clickable print solves the metrics problem. Bar codes and now QR codes can be created at production speeds. Just like a web link, user information can be embedded in the codes and harvesting from massive number of clicks.

A local newspaper + cable + radio station enterprise. Four pages of the newspaper is devoted to clickable print TV listings. The appropriate categories after sports, cooking and parenting could be based on a web survey or better even, harvesting the "what article was viewed and emailed" data from their website.

Q: What's the missing piece?
A: A living room friendly scanner connected to the TV Cloud.
It's likely that the technology is already there in many different contexts. Light pens are cheap and easy to use. Remote bar code readers have well established connections to the Cloud. Cell phones have the tech. Very soon someone will connect that technology to the digital cable box and it's done.

It might come first from the Wii or Nokia or Apple or Amazon. It might be Yahoo or Google or Microsoft.It could be News Corp or the New York Times or WaPo. But it seems obvious that it will come. When the first one is introduced, within a year the better, faster, cheaper versions will come to market. Within a year after that the copy cats will deliver the same functionality with ever increasing usability at ever decreasing prices.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Free Textbooks for High School are now possible

reposted from Tough Love for Xerox

The trick is ad supported textbooks. The other trick is that sometimes they are books, sometimes newspapers, sometimes posters and sometimes a deck of cards. Whatever form they take, they are just the right information, in just the right form at just the right time. + Printernet + CodeZ QR + + Clickable Print

The reason this fixes high school ed is that the issue is "one-size-fits-all" organization of time and space. Learning only happens with focus. All the rest is just blablabla.

To make the equation work
Bookboon has the tech to put advertising into PDF and to deliver in many languages.
The Printernet is how to print textbooks at OPM/PSP or at the CRD or in the department or in the classroom.
CodeZ has the tech to produce variable information rich QR codes at scale.
Navify has the tech to connect wikipedia content to videos and pictures.
Clickable Print is how to connect print to personal TV.

Hint: Big cellphones are tablet computers.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Finally the New York Times gets it right!

Why The New York Times Doesn't Call Its Readers 'Readers' - @Advertising Age - Digital: "NEW YORK ( -- In a world of near-ubiquitous computing, where an ever-expanding collection of devices turns readers into an army of co-creators and news distributors, The New York Times is trying to figure out its place. And the venerable Gray Lady's place in this world, increasingly, rests squarely with turning its readers into, well, something more.

"When we think traditionally about creation [at The New York Times] it was limited to people within the Times," he said. "We created for readers ... [for whom] it was a passive experience.
Here's the point:
But as we moved online, we wanted to move people from readers to users."
Most people who buy newspapers are not readers. Most people are not readers. Most people don't have the time to be readers.

Users use stuff. The New York Times in print or the web is stuff.

Derek Gottfrid
Derek Gottfrid

Speaking at the CaT: Creativity and Technology conference today, Derek Gottfrid, senior software architect and product technologist at The New York Times, said the company has quit calling online readers 'readers,' instead referring to them as users. The conference is hosted by Advertising Age and Creativity."

Clickable Print in the service of Transparency and Democracy

reposted from Clickable Print + Printernet Publishing.

The printernet = up to 50,000,000 Print pieces delivered over night around the USA with a minimal carbon footprint. Imagine the following on an full color 8 1/2 by 11, printed 1 side. Or an ad in a newspaper.

Read the Words
The President discusses the breadth and depth of experience held by his nominee for the Supreme Court. In the course of a life that began in a housing project in the South Bronx and brought her to the pinnacle of her profession, Judge Sonia Sotomayor accumulated more experience on the federal bench than any incoming Supreme Court Justice in the past 100 years, touching nearly every aspect of our legal system. May 30, 2009. (Public Domain)

Click the QR code. One goes to the video. One goes to

Watch the video on your cell phone.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's not interactive Print. It's clickable Print. It's not VDP. IT's VQRP.

QR stands for QR code.
Codez QR Home |
"CodeZ QR generates QR codes from simple desktop word processors all the way up to the publisher’s data center document composition engines for printing on every printer in the enterprise. CodeZ QR’s support of variable data publishing engines allows publishers to encode a subscriber’s demographic data in each ad for ever more informative analytics reports."
Imagine a printed document.
The title is the History of Print.
Then you click on the print by photographing a QR code.
Then you watch this video on your cell phone.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fixing High School Education with Wireless Connected Print

First posted at Tough Love For Xerox: Here's one way Print will go wireless and eliminate textbooks

Here's how it works:
Take a picture
See a print ad, billboard or logo and want to learn more?
Capture it with your camera phone.

Here's the textbook part:
If you see something in your non-textbook and want to learn more

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Fixing Education, Evolution in Virus, Human and Business

Duplicate post from Tough Love for Xerox where I blog about the Print industry, as opposed to how Print fits into the Communication Ecology.

The question is "Why do smart/good people do stupid/evil things?

Given that smart-stupid and good-evil is most likely similarly distributed at all levels of the pyramid attributing smart-good to just the top is frankly stupid. Likewise attributing stupid-evil to just the top is also not plausible. Contrary to the populist common wisdom, Congress, Boards of Directors, High School Principals, Printers and their customers have no monopoly on stupid.

Smart-stupid is most often used as an explanation at the top. Good-evil is used as an explanation at the bottom. Good/evil is often described as hard working/lazy.

They are all useless thought models/memes/categories/words if the job is to get from here to there. They are useless in government, education, business and selling stuff. Evolutionary thought models/memes/categories/words are much more useful.

Since it's the 150th anniversary of Origin of the Species there have been numerous publishing events that have captured the evolutionary framework in Print. Once so captured it is easily accessible to those not in the various guilds that talk about this kind of stuff as their day job. It was true when movable type emerged. It is still true today.

The most interesting recent book that has gotten onto my radar is the Art Instinct, by Denis Dutton. In it, he makes a very compelling argument that the mechanism of sexual selection is at the base of language and art. Thus it helps clarify the mechanisms that led to the evolved patterns in the brain that make humans predisposed to use language and experience proximate rewards from humor, fashion, love and the other specific human manifestations we call consciousness.

Evolution is driven by two forces, not one. Darwin himself articulated the thought model. But it has been under appreciated in the public discourse. One mechanism is adapting to ever changing proximate physical environments. The other mechanisms surround sexual selection. Adapting to changing physical environment is about minimizing risk. Sexual selection is about taking risks.

As the two mechanisms play out, some evolved characteristics of living bodies have no real effects on either. Consider a tank of tropical fish. Some characteristics seem to make no sense for survival by minimizing risk.

But then consider the peacock's tail. It has been convincingly argued that the enormous energy required to create the peacock's tail has been evolutionarily selected as a signal to the pea hen of health. It takes lots of invested energy to get to the peacock's tail. The DNA that presented in living bodies as that big tail increased in the gene pool because more peacocks with that tail were chosen by mates.

Viruses replicate asexually. They are single purpose DNA whose only activity is to replicate. They thrive in living bodies. But they are not burdened by the overhead or the slow cycle time of generations necessitated by living bodies. They can iterate a gezillion times in the cycle time that it takes a living bodies to iterate. The cycle time of random mutation, differentiation and selective destruction is very short. The AID virus is just the most recent example of a DNA virus that thrives by being able to take advantage of these short cycle times to change faster than humans can design ways to stop it.

Humans iterate slowly in human measured time. The time to get from infant to adult is very long. The amount of focused energy required is massive. Human mating decisions are critical path decisions that must be made in with imperfect information. Compared to mating decision, a high stakes test or a business decisions is a walk in the park. At any rate, the point is that human generations have a very long cycle time.

In the couple of hundred iterations since humans evolved to make a living from agriculture instead of hunting, the change in human DNA is relatively small. It took the many thousands of generations in the Pleistocene era to get to humans from the various living bodies that preceded them.

Businesses have much faster cycle times than living bodies. Since a business is merely a set of mutual expectations that enable exchange, they are a merely a product of culture.

Community based exchange has been an evolutionarily significant activity of humans since at least the emergence of cities in the Fertile Crescent and of course at other locations around the glove. Exchanges grow fastest in the informal economy. But to scale means risk has to be managed at a much larger scale. So exchanges evolve most reliably in formal economies governed by laws. It seems likely that economies will grow both quickly with the minimum risk as law becomes better to minimize risk of exchange failure at the bottom of the pyramid.

Once the large scale use of physical money emerged, it signaled less risky and easier exchanges. Less risk and easier leads to more iterations.

As is now well recognized, money is not a thing. Money is a signal that a specific exchange has acceptable risk. Now that the internet is replacing physical money with Cloud based signals of trust, the cycle time of exchange keeps moving towards zero. As the cycle time of exchanges move towards zero, money-in=the-Cloud can lose it's value as a signal of trust. Without constraint, money replicates like a virus. Sometimes that virus presents in living bodies as cancer. It presents in business as financial meltdowns.

In order to get from here to there, the blablabla is very important. Sometimes the words that are the stuff of blablabla are useful to point to a piece of reality. The overwhelming amount of the blablabla is only a good signal of the stories they tell themselves to create meaning about what they are doing and what is happening. If carefully considered blablabla can also be useful signals about what they might do as they get from here to there.

The real levers of getting to new behavior are about opportunity, constraints, proximate rewards and aligned incentives. At it's base it is about organizing the time and space in which humans move using their Pleistocene era evolved brain to deal with the changing environment of the 21st century.

That's why education can be fixed much more easily and quickly than is commonly believed. While it's almost impossible to change what people believe and hard, but not impossible to change how they think, it's pretty easy to change time and space constraints.

1. The effects of $4.00 gasoline on US driving habits vs the gezillion of dollars spent on blablabla about sustainability and conservation.

2. That the US savings rate went from -6% to +4% in eight months when real risk entered the picture v the gezillion dollars that were spent on blablabla about getting Americans to save.

3. That it took just a couple of months for GM to get out of banking business and refocus on the car business vs the gezillions of blablabla about ROI and good management.

4. That it took about 6 months to go from Financial Meltdown to merely Serious Recession for some and a once in a lifetime opportunity for others.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I wanted to call it The Newspaper Printernet Emerges on the Iberian Pennisula.

My editor at PBS went with PressTerra Tests Newspaper 'Printernet' on Iberian Peninsula

Goethe and the Printernet

From The Book Report
There is a delightful moment in Goethe’s The Man of 50 where the man of fifty enters into the beautiful widow’s salon and she tells him she was just having a debate with a friend about whether anyone can make a work of art without some audience in mind. Josefowicz’s point, I think, is a continuation of Goethe’s thought experiment.
The author of the The Book Report:
. . . Andrew Piper, is an assistant professor of German studies and an associate member of art history and communication studies at McGill University. His research interests focus on the intersections of literary creativity and bibliographic communication from the eighteenth century to the present. His book, Dreaming in Books: The Making of the Bibliographic Imagination in the Romantic Age, will be appearing soon with the University of Chicago Press.
I've been looking and thinking about the problem from the point of view of the print industry, the print object and how that print object fits into an evolving communication ecology. From what I infer from Andrew Piper's blog, he is looking at the problem from the point of view of the author and the challenges/opportunities in an evolving media landscape. My sense is that it is a potentially productive intersections of world views.

In his discussion he says "It (printernet meme) puts an emphasis on audience- and time-specific writing within a more universal template."

"Time-specific writing" is a nice way to describe it. In my native language I would say the just the right information in just the right format at just the right time. Time-specific writing is a more elegant way to look at it. If it were also space specific or perhaps space/time specific we are pointing to the same reality and I could say that communication, marketing, educational, or artistic will tend to succeed if it is space/time specific for a specific receiver/customer/reader.

In a communication ecology thought model, the reader is the receiver. The author is the sender.The writing is a signal. The receiver is surrounded by an information membrane. To the extent that the signal has something of interest, the outside membrane becomes permeable. To the extent that the signal is wrapped in a story that fits into the resident stories in the receiver's library, it will pass through the membrane surrounding receiver's internal library.

To the extent that the new story undergoes the process of compare and contrast with stories resident in the receiver's library, new stories may be formed. The production of new stories resident in the receiver's library is an operational definition of what we call "learning."

In the terms of the printernet focused on the ecology of print production, the appropriate terms are OEM - the original equipment manufacturer, the OPM - the original product manufacturer, the VAR - who combines product and software in the service of the client, and the UNF - the user network facilitator who manages the growth of a self organizing network.

Perhaps there is a useful correspondence to clarify the communication process. The OEM can be seen as the biological base of living individuals. The OPM may be seen as the author. The VAR is the process of crafting words and pictures into stories that pass the membrane of the customer. The UNF may turn out be a useful way to think about the process that creates what we are trying to point to with "consciousness."

The issue is to clarify how does a meme spread? Why is some writing successful at small scale? Why is some writing successful at mass scales? What does it mean that learning has occurred? And most importantly, what are the forms of the most successful interventions to increase learning.

In communication ecology language the notion is that changes in the receiver's space/time has some kind of definable relationships to the semi-permeability of the membrane that surrounds both the reader and the reader's library. When focus occurs, the membrane is relatively more permeable. When the reader is under condition of fear, certain signals can pass through, other signals cannot.

Stories that pass the outside membrane have to travel through the second to fit into the library. The more easily it fits into the resident stories, the faster it is integrated. But if it integrated too easily, it merely leads to a more resilient common wisdom. But when it does not fit easily, a decision process occurs. The new story is judged either wrong, interesting or surprising. If a new story is judged true and suprising it may present as a joke or a paradox.
It if presents as a paradox, compare and contrast occurs. Signals have to be embedded in a new story and thus change the complex structure of resident stories and learning is said to occur.

Anything come to mind? more to come . . .

This might work for some newspapers: Micro-payments considered for WSJ website

Micro-payments considered for WSJ website
"News Corp is planning to introduce micro-payments for individual articles and premium subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal’s website this year, in a milestone in the news industry’s race to find better online business models.

“A sophisticated micro-payments service” will launch this autumn, Robert Thomson, editor-in-chief of Dow Jones and managing editor of the Journal, told the Financial Times.

The move will position the Journal as the first big newspaper title to adopt a model many are cautiously studying as they seek to reduce their dependence on plunging advertising revenues."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's not the economy blablabla. It's bad management

from Economic Principals Blog Archive
The Newspaper that Fired Its Readers:

"A newspaper’s authority derives ultimately from its prosperity. So it was more bad news last week that among the 25 largest US newspapers, only The Wall Street Journal managed to eke out a small gain in circulation during the six months of the financial crisis. The general gloom, however, may be somewhat overstated. A hot-potato game has characterized the industry over the last twenty years, the astute and the distressed unloading on the innocent and reckless. As a result, many important newspapers – in Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Boston – are in the hands of owners ill-equipped to manage them. Another round of potato-passing, this one finally at the bottom of the market, may improve matters somewhat

Take the story of The Boston Globe, which The New York Times has loudly threatened to close if it doesn’t receive further concessions from its unions. Every unprofitable newspaper is unhappy in its own way. The story of the Globe may be the unhappiest story of them all. I know something about this. I wrote for that paper for many years.."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Blog = Newsletter. One is published on the screen. The other is published in Print.

A "blog" can also be a wiki. Either is a great way to have a conversation with real people. If a blog is managed correctly, it is also a very inexpensive way to get into a conversation with powerful and sometimes quite intelligent people.

But, you can't make enough money from a blog.

So moderate the content. Get really smart and/or powerful people to take part. If you can't find that, then get politician wannabes that are running for office or politicians that want to stay in office, They get the free publicity and lower campaign expenses. Everyone gets a vigorous conversation public issues. The moderator keeps the silliness under control and keeps the focus on complexity instead of sound bites. And you get agates without having to pay the AP.

The newspaper/journalist value creation is the moderating. That's a hard job. It should be a well paying job because of the great content that should be generated. The best person to moderate is a beat reporter. The best place to learn about beat reporting starts from the links from Pat Thornton's blog, the Journalism Iconoclast.
The Journalism Iconoclast is a blog on new media journalism run by Patrick Thornton, a new media journalist and Web developer. Thornton runs the non-profit journalism project BeatBlogging.Org. He spends his days looking for and highlighting the most innovative beat reporters in the world.

If your job is to keep the whole thing afloat, sell Print ads. Everyone knows how to sell Print Ads. Package the print ads with ads on the blog/wiki. For those who like the web, they should buy the ads and get the print as a benefit. For those who like Print, the web ad is the benefit.

If anyone has the time to let me know what I'm missing, it would be greatly appreciated. I keep turning it over and over, and can't see why it wouldn't work.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I wanted to call it "The End of the 'End of Print' "

In my column , just up at PBS/, I try to directly take on the blablabla about the End of Print. Given the blabla when this position is publicly asserted, it could get interesting.

The short story is the "End of Print" meme is very similar to the "Don't Trust Anyone over Thirty" meme that I was guilty of propagating back in the 60's. It's less about Print than it is about a new generation coming of age.

Whenever a new generation comes of age, all that went before is "dumb." "Everything will change." "Dinosaurs will be replaced with mammals." This generation will lead us all to the new Jerusalem. It's just a normal part of growing up. I did it in the sixties. The generation of the 1920's did it. The generation of the 1840's did it. And the founding generation in America in the 1770's did it.

Children and young adults, who think they are going to live forever, make the error of clarity in a world of complexity. Young adults, unlike children, also commit the sin of Pride. They are starting to feel their power and are eager to flex it and define the world. That's all to the very, very good.

But as they age, they will discover that what will be done, has been done and that there really is nothing new under the sun. There are only new tools to do the same things that humans have always done. They will also remember that media is not a zero sum game. The rule for media is the more, the more.

At it's base it's always a signal v noise problem. That's why the Tower of Babel story still resonates and blablabla is good, but if you want to manage the risks of the future, science is better.