Green, environmentally friendly and trend setting: The Economist

The Economist is carbon-neutralized. The magazine decided that for its 16 page ‘Green’ section it would make a difference, not just in words, but in actions.

The idea sprang to life in the latest edition of The Economist, with a special environment section called “A survey of climate change”. The latest issue of the magazine has been carbon-neutralized. The Economist calculated the impact on the environment that the process of publishing this month’s issue would have, “so Carbon Neutral could trap the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide (118 tons) in a U.S. mine as a way of neutralizing the emissions created by producing the magazine — cost about $1,200.” (Ad Age)

green economist

When interviewed, Emma Duncan, Deputy Editor of The Economist, explained that advertisers were quick to jump on the idea of participating in this month’s issue, especially companies that are keen on getting an environmentally friendly message across. They even got ads from companies that rarely advertise !

However the Economist not only took a bold step on this issue, the whole section was nearly all produced by Ms Duncan. Her work spanned over a four month period, travelling around the world to write the various stories that appear in this special section. The Economist found a novel and highly appropriate way of getting the message across. Savvy to on-line trends, they have a podcast interview of Emma Duncan that you can download or play directly from the site.

“We need to think about climate change maybe as individuals think about insuring their houses: you spend maybe 1% of your annual income insuring your house not because you think it’s going to burn down, but because if by any chance it did burn down, the consequences for you would be disastrous.”
Emma Duncan, Deputy Editor of The Economist

So it’s an all round thumbs up for this prestigious magazine that will hopefully provide full access to their content soon.

Web 3.0

Je viens de terminer la traduction de l’article ‘Web 3.0′ de Jeffrey Zeldman publié en janvier sur ‘A List Apart’. Il n’existait pas encore de traduction de cet article fort intéressant pour les francophones, voilà chose faite. Je voudrai remercier Jean Tournier pour sa relecture et ses remarques précieuses. Je souhaite aussi remercier Erin Kissane, éditrice du magazine ‘A List Apart’ pour son aide pendant la traduction.

J’ai connu les premières périodes de l’Internet et les regards perplexes à la fin des années 90 lorsqu’on expliquait “un travail dans le Web”. Le paragraphe “Bulle, bulle” de cet article a fait resurgir ces souvenirs. Je dois avouer qu’étant un passionné d’Internet depuis le début, j’ai été motivé par l’idée de traduire ces souvenirs…

J’espère que l’article vous plaira :)

Multi-browser site testing

I have just published an article that covers the subject of testing your site/pages and the compatibility with different browsers, several different services and solutions exist. I aim to cover as many solutions as possible in the article.

The main areas of the article are :
- Hardware based solutions
- Software based solutions
- Standalone solutions
- Remote Testing Machines solutions
- Cross-Browser screen capturing
- Standards Compliance
- Load and Stress Tests

Browsercam capture
A screenshot from the Browsercam tutorial.

AJAX Write and Sketch and Tunes

ajax writeWell I just came across this AJAX based Word Processor system called ajaxWrite that can actually read and write MS Word documents and several other formats. It is AJAX based so it just works directly in your browser, it’s really cool !

 
 

But I then realised that this was just the tip of the iceberg. There is a ajaxSketch that can read and write SVG type documents and it all just works seamlessly as you can see from the screenshots in your web browser.
ajax sketch

I then clicked on ajaxTunes and this “is a web-based music player that lets you play high-quality streaming music straight from the Internet on any computer” Not only that but it seems to link to remotely stored music. It’s amazing !! I am impressed !
Oh and the first song that appeared ‘Breathe Me’ by Sia is also a sing I really like so these guys got everything right first time with me, bravo !

But as these guys are really good they have actually got the system working so you can add the code to your pages so I’m going to give it a try. My page will not validate anymore but it was already giving me CSS errors anyway so here goes :
Listen to Sia’s ‘Breathe Me’ right now !

Update : It works in FireFox, IE and Opera. Sia’s singing to me from my blog, this is great :)

The fight of the free in Newspaperland

London is the place to be for free newspapers. Soon there will be three free newspapers for Londoners to choose from !

The Guardian’s opening paragraph :

Newspapers are dying, but no one can accuse them of going quietly.

London is home to a “free frenzy” in Newspaperland. Next month there will be three free newspapers for commuting Londoners. Metro will be joined by a free newspaper from Associated and another from Murdoch. The battle is novel since unlike previous ones that entailed ‘price slashing’, free means no price wars ! Paris already has several free newspapers (one of them is Metro) and now it is London’s turn to have companies fight for the population’s reading time. Studies have shown however, as in Paris, how free newspapers actually create new reading time, in that many new readers of free newspaper didn’t read before. They didn’t read articles nor the adjacent adverts !

What can be referred to as ‘barriers of entry’, not only the price but the distribution barriers have been taken away. On top of being free, if Paris based free newspapers are an example then they can even be handed to you or placed conveniently on your way to work ! What more can you ask for ?

I find this interesting for several reasons :
- Newspapers are complaining about declining number of readers yet the example below of the Guardian shows that you cannot read the article before registering : access barrier
- Several newspapers like the WallStreet Journal and some sections at the New York Times cost members money to read : financial barrier.
(This model seems sustainable specifically to the WSJ which is a very specific case but for how long ?)
- Access to the Internet will soon be far easier/convenient than finding the closest newsstand/newsagents both at work and from home : distribution/access barrier
- Like the Internet the future of newspapers seems far more linked to advertising than circulation revenue
- Barriers are also barriers to viewing the placed adverts

The specifics of the current fight between Murdoch and Associated is further complicated by the fact that each company also distributes traditional newspapers that people pay to read. Creating a good free newspaper can obviously not be allowed at the moment to put the circulation revenue of their other (paid) newspapers in jeopardy.

But as the Independent article explains the idea of getting people into the habit of reading is not bad including the other (paid) newspapers :

Jim Bilton says: “Free newspapers are the only way of getting to the younger, non-newspaper readers and introducing them to the reading habit.”

The list of free newspapers in London will increase next month and as you can see at Free Daily Newspapers (below) there is also a 2 page A4 teaser from the Financial Times along with free newspapers in Manchester, Newcastle and Brighton in the UK.

Article refs.
- Roll up for a good, old-fashioned fight for the future (Guardian)
- Why should newspapers cost less money than a coffee? (Independent)
- Free Daily Newspapers

Web 2.0 Bubble and Star Bubble

So what do film stars and Web 2.0 have in common ? Read on to see why value is not always where you think it is !

While checking out CNN I came across an article called “Beware the return of the Web Bubble”, which turned out to be about media companies potentially spending too much money for online social networking businesses.
Linked to this article was another called “Star Power fades in Tinseltown”, the same journalist Paul R. La Monica discusses the failures of recent movies with big stars as opposed to the success of movies like ‘Superman returns‘ and ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’. Even though I watched and enjoyed both these movies I truly can’t think of the names of the lead actors.
As the journalist explains, numerous stars, including Cruise and Gibson, are making the headlines for bad reasons, alienating “a large portion of moviegoers”. Indeed, why not go for great writers, special effects and search for new talent. Paying millions for a well known movie star is not proving to be so rewarding.

For the past few years, monstrous box office hits have often been based on comic books, novels and sequels. And most of them have not had featured well-known actors and actresses. The characters and stories have driven the film’s success.

What is the common factor ? ‘Star’ sites of the moment on the Web considered ‘Web 2.0′ and film stars are being paid far too much ! Buying into a company is completely different to paying a well known star to be in your movie, but maybe the glitter of the stars, just like the web 2.0 buzz, is distracting people from the real value.
As Jeffrey Zeldman explains in his “Web 3.0″ article, it does seem that the hype around web 2.0 is getting a bit much. ‘Copy cat’ projects with a simple Web 2.0 veneer are popping up like honey pots. As La Monica points out on CNN Money, this could create a vicious backlash, similar to the web 1.0 bubble burst !

Taking these two concepts further, the real issue is savvy business decisions, rather than a cyclic economic trend. When News Corp. bought MySpace they most probably made a great deal. The finance world later realised that News Corp. had swooped in at just the right time, which triggered this grand race to copy them.
The CNN article is more of a warning, just like Zeldman’s web 3.0 article; it shouldn’t be a race it should be business as usual. Rushing into negotiations and paying 20 times the real market value (if there is any value and it’s not just a pale copy) is what lead to the web 1.0 bubble. I recommend Zeldman’s article for a better understanding of the web 2.0 hype.

There is real value out there, regardless of all the hype about web 2.0. Just make sure that you’re buying into value and not hype.

Article Refs. :
- Media companies shouldn’t overpay for their own MySpace (CNN Money)
- Star Power fades in Tinseltown (CNN Money)
- Web 3.0 (A List Apart)

Je me demande à quoi sert ce bouton ?

Mon premier article en français n’est pas de moi. Il s’agit de la traduction d’un article très intéressant en français, écrit par Mike West ! Mike évoque tout l’intérêt d’utiliser le logiciel Subversion pour gérer le contrôle des versions de fichiers dans la gestion d’un projet avec workflow. Il a été publié par le prestigieux magazine A List Apart ce qui montre l’intérêt de l’article. C’était un plaisir de travailler avec Mike qui s’intéresse à la traduction. Nous avons conversé plusieurs fois sur le choix des mots afin de restituer le mieux possible ‘sa pensée’ dans la traduction.
J’en profite pour remercier François Blanc Patin et Hélène Wokowski. Hélène a passé du temps avec moi pour proposer des tournures différentes de phrases, tout en restant aussi fidèle que possible au texte d’origine.

Allez donc voir ce texte que je vous saurai gré de lire…

News is new for 36 hours…

An article in the New York Times covers a study by Albert-László Barabási of the University of Notre Dame called “The Dynamics of Information Access on the Web,”. The study concludes that an article once published will generally be read by half the total readership it will get within 36 hours…

This has supposedly surprised many who thought that the online articles had a far shorter life expectancy. Obviously we all look at this in retrospect, but I think that most people don’t have the time to jump on articles the moment they are published. Doubled by the fact that life as we know it, hectic and often full of surprises doesn’t always allow for a so tightly scheduled reading of online newspapers.

Why contribute online ?

From a link on boing boing I came across an article on citimedia’s blog. The post covers a recent study from Harvard University called “The Hype vs. Reality vs. What People Value: Emerging Collaborative News Models and the Future of News“. Even though the study itself is not a short blog post it is really interesting and worth reading if you have the time.

Some interesting trends that are documented about participants :
  • The will to share, is a big motivator, few wish to become journalists
  • A community to plug into, where trying things as a group means things can be tried and tested far quicker
  • More women than men vocalised the desire to find people with similar interests
  • A feel good factor and giving back factor is often cited
These five elements are cited in Citimedia’s blog by particpants as reasons why they do not participate in online communities :
  • Busy, haven’t got the time
  • Not perfect communities with low value exchanges
  • Often confronted with technical issues
  • User interfaces are hard to understand/use
  • Lurkers that only want to ‘listen’ that don’t feel they can contribute

There are some interesting Technorati graphs used in the survey that illustrate the evolution of the blog phenomenon. Other graphs illustrate the impact of world events on the quantity of posts/articles at these specific dates.

A new blog every second !

A new article at emarketer, based on the latest Technorati report illustrates how the blogosphere is now at over 35 million blogs. The average rate at which new blogs are created each day means that a new blog is created nearly every second of the day ! In August 2003 there were 0.5 million blogs being tracked by Technorati and now there are 35.3 million.
Another interesting fact is that Technorati statistics indicate that nearly 4 million bloggers update their blogs weekly, if not more, at the moment…